Supreme Court of California

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Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fire Dist., S213100

In a suit against a fire district alleging employment discrimination in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Gov. Code section 12900, the court of appeals' decision affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment and costs to the district is reversed where: 1) Government Code section 12965(b) governs cost awards in FEHA actions, allowing trial courts discretion in awards of both attorney fees and costs to prevailing FEHA parties; and 2) in awarding attorney fees and costs, the trial court's discretion is bounded by the rule of Christiansburg Garment Co. v. EEOC, 434 U.S. 412 (1978), and an unsuccessful FEHA plaintiff should not be ordered to pay the defendant's fees or costs unless the plaintiff brought or continued litigating the action without an objective basis for believing it had potential merit.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 05/04/2015
  • Published 05/04/2015




  • Supreme Court of California