CUMERO v. KING CITY HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

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Court of Appeal, First District, Division 3, California.

William J. CUMERO, Petitioner, v. PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS BOARD, et al., Respondent; KING CITY HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT ASSOCIATION, etc., et al., Real Party in Interest.

No. A016723.

Decided: June 15, 1990

Upon remand from the California Supreme Court, this court has considered petitioner's request for attorneys' fees and the opposing papers.   We make the following determination of appropriate fees, which we award under the authority of Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5:  For Pacific Legal Foundation—$60,000;  For Jan Walker—$20,000.   Real parties in interest, excluding the school district itself, are solely responsible for the payment of these fees.

Although the number of hours claimed is very high, we accept petitioner's hours for computation of the fees.   We award fees to Pacific Legal Foundation at the rates of $90 (Brown), $100 (Caso) and $110 per hour (Findley).   We find that the very high hours billed for research and writing reflect more on the inexperience of lead counsel at the beginning of this case than upon any complexity or novelty of the issues.   We base our hourly rates on the experience of counsel, the kind of work involved, and the prevailing rates in Sacramento.

Instead of increasing the fees by a multiplier of 2.0, as requested by petitioner, we use a multiplier of 0.6 to reflect petitioner's partial success.   Although petitioner has provided no breakdown, it is evident that many hours were expended pursuing unsuccessful objectives (e.g., barring affiliation fees and payroll deductions).   Enhancement of fees by a multiplier is not appropriate because there was nothing extraordinary about this case.

We deliberately do not assess fees against the Public Employment Relations Board.   The Board merely complied with the directive of rule 59(d), California Rules of Court and with implied or express requests by this court and the California Supreme Court for briefing in support of its decision.

Real parties in interest, the King City High School District Association, CTA/NEA, California Teachers Association, and National Education Association are ordered to pay attorneys fees of $60,000 for Pacific Legal Foundation and $20,000 for Jan Alton Walker.  Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5 provides for payment of the fees to the successful “party.”   However, upon petitioner's agreement to the procedure, payments may be made directly to the attorneys.

BY THE COURT: