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PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler

California Supreme Court
997 P.2d 511 (2000)


Facts

David Drexler (defendant) was an attorney. Drexler purchased professional malpractice insurance from PLCM Group, Inc. (PLCM) (plaintiff). The insurance policy contained a deductible of $20,000 and permitted PLCM to recover attorney fees if PLCM had to pursue litigation to recover the deductible amount. Drexler was sued for malpractice and submitted a claim to PLCM. A law firm was retained to represent Drexler, but Drexler failed to pay the full deductible amount. PLCM sued Drexler to recover $10,319.62. PLCM used its in-house counsel for the litigation. Drexler rejected settlement attempts and engaged in extensive discovery and motion practice. PLCM prevailed at trial and petitioned the trial court for attorney fees of $61,050. The fee amount was based on the prevailing hourly rate of $185 multiplied by the number of attorney hours expended, which is known as the lodestar calculation. Drexler argued that attorney fees for in-house counsel were not recoverable. The trial court awarded the full amount to PLCM. Drexler appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Mosk, J.)

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Concurrence/Dissent (Chin, J.)

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