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CA Supreme Court rules defendants should pay lawyers' fees in public benefit cases

[JURIST] A divided California Supreme Court has ruled that lawyers participating in cases that benefit the public, including those representing advocacy groups, should have their legal fees paid by defendants. In two 4-3 decisions, the court ruled Thursday that lawyers needed some incentive to bring cases that will likely result in little or no money from damages but that still benefit the public. Defendants should still pay the attorneys' fees in cases that are settled and not tried in court. The dissenting judges in the cases argued that the practice would simply encourage frivolous lawsuits. Read the court's opinion in Graham v. DaimlerChrysler Corp. [PDF] and in the companion case Tipton-Wittingham v. Los Angeles [PDF]. The Los Angeles Times has more (registration required).

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