All Things Newz
Law \ Legal

Los Angeles Court Orders Employer To Pay Whistleblower $2.3 Million In Attorney’s Fees On Top Of $24 Million Judgment – Whistleblowing


To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on

A California judge has ordered Farmers Insurance to pay almost
$2.3 million in attorney’s fees to the lawyers of a successful
whistleblower/former in-house attorney who claimed his role as a
potential witness in a sex bias class action got him fired. The
underlying judgment in favor of the whistleblower was $24.36
million – after the Judge reduced the punitive
damages award by more than $131 million.

The employee’s attorneys had sought $6.7 million in
prevailing-party attorney’s fees, including a
“multiplier” of 2 times the actual fees incurred. The
employer, on the other hand, recommended an award of approximately
$1 million. On Jan. 20, 2023, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ruth
A. Kwan awarded the employee’s lawyers $2,266,704,
“inclusive of a modest multiplier of 1.1.”

Judge Kwan found the employee’s attorneys’ hourly rates
to be excessive. The Judge conducted an analysis of “what
amount of fees would be ‘reasonable’ in light of the
relative extent or degree of the party’s success in obtaining
the results sought.” The lead lawyer for the employee sought
an hourly rate of $1,425, hourly rates of up to $1,100 for other
senior lawyers and up to $850 for associates who had worked on the
case. The Judge reduced these hourly rates across the board in part
because they reflected a mix between current and past rates that
were in place when the case was first filed in August 2016. The
hourly rates for the lead lawyer were reduced to $1,050 and for the
other lawyers who worked on the case to a maximum of $825.

In addition, Judge Kwan made an across-the-board reduction of
10% to the attorney’s fees due to perceived duplicative
billing. “Excessive billing was evident” from several
attorneys who billed for days at trial without “meaningfully
contributing.” This 10% reduction in fees also covered
challenges regarding “excessive travel time.” Judge Kwan
did note, however, that a 1.1 multiplier was appropriate in this
case in light of the attorneys’ “exceptional skill”
in successfully advocating on behalf of an older white male during
the height of the “Me Too” movement.

We previously reported about this case in December 2021, when a Los Angeles jury
rendered the eye-popping $155.4 million verdict in favor of the
employee, including $150 million in punitive damages. However, in
May 2022, Judge Kwan determined that the punitive damages award was
excessive and significantly reduced it to $18.945 million
(resulting in an approximate 3.5:1 ratio of punitive to
compensatory damages). The plaintiff accepted the reduced award in
lieu of a new trial. However, Farmers Insurance appealed the
reduced verdict.

The appeal is pending in the California Court of Appeal, Second
Appellate District, Rudnicki v. Farmers Ins. Exch., et
, Docket No. B321691 (Cal. Ct. App. Jun 27, 2022).

(Link to appeal docket: California Courts – Appellate Court Case

Los Angeles Court Orders Employer To Pay Whistleblower $2.3 Million
In Attorney’s Fees On Top Of $24 Million Judgment

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Employment and HR from United States

SECURE 2.0 – Changes For Retirement Plans

Mayer Brown

With just days to go before the new year, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, into law on December 29, 2022, which includes the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022…


Source link

Related posts

ACCC takes swipe at Mastercard for alleged misuse of market power – Trade Regulation & Practices

The law, defences and penalties for attempted murder in New South Wales – Crime

FCA Managed Care Case Update: A Court’s View Of ICD Guidelines In Risk Adjustment Cases – Healthcare