Plaintiff filed a petition to compel defendant to produce various categories of documents under the California Public Records Act. The trial court granted plaintiff limited relief, ordering the production of only two heavily redacted email strings containing no substantive information. Believing it had no discretion to deny fees under the CPRA’s mandatory fee-shifting provision, the trial court awarded plaintiff over $71,000 in fees.
Horvitz & Levy was retained to represent the defendant on appeal. We persuaded the Court of Appeal to reverse the fees award and hold that the trial court erred in concluding it lacked any discretion to deny fees. The Court of Appeal held that trial courts have discretion under the CPRA to deny fees when the results obtained are “minimal or insignificant.” The court remanded the case for the trial court to determine whether, applying the “minimal or insignificant” standard, plaintiff was a prevailing party entitled to fees.