Linton v. County of Contra Costa

Linton fell from her wheelchair while being transported in a county paratransit van and sustained injuries. Linton alleged violations of the California Disabled Persons Act (Civ. Code 54, DPA) and the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code 51) and sought general damages, medical and related expenses, interest, costs of suit, and statutory attorney fees. Settlement attempts failed because defendants insisted on a global settlement amount whereas Linton’s counsel demanded a settlement amount for damages and a separate right to seek attorney fees. After several years of litigation, Linton made a section 998 offer, which provided for judgment in the amount of $250,001, “Plus costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 1032 and attorney’s fees allowed by law as determined by the court.” Defendants accepted Linton’s offer. Defendants opposed Linton’s fee motion arguing that the DPA and Unruh Act require a finding of liability, and the section 998 offer did not include such a finding. The trial court agreed. The court of appeal affirmed. While Linton’s section 998 offer provided her the right to seek attorney fees as “allowed by law,” no such fees were in fact “allowed by law.” View "Linton v. County of Contra Costa" on Justia Law