Dust Settles on Attorneys Fees and Costs in Coal Trial (for now)

On May 28, 2024 Judge Noël Wise issued a “(Second) Order re City of Oakland’s Motion to Tax Costs” bringing to a conclusion the post-judgment proceedings over attorneys’ fees and costs sought by Phil Tagami’s OBOT and OGRE for their partial victory in the 5-year litigation against the City of Oakland.

After the Court issued a judgment in January reinstating OBOT’s lease but denying the developer’s claim for imagined damages of $159.6 million, OBOT filed for $11.8 million of attorneys’ fees and $1.5 million in costs for a total of $13.3 million. In a series of rulings ending with the May 28 order, the Court awarded OBOT $6.6 million in attorneys’ fees and less than $300,000 in costs for a total of $6.85  million – little more than half the award sought by OBOT.

The sharp cut responded to strong and precise arguments presented by the City’s counsel. They dissected numerous blunders by OBOT’s attorneys that disqualified OBOT’s claims, the costliest of which was failure on the part of an in-house lawyer employed by OBOT to keep time records.

If the City prevails on its appeal of the judgment reinstating OBOT’s lease, the fee and cost awards in favor of OBOT will go away and the City will be able to seek its own attorneys’ fees and costs from OBOT.


Photo Credit: Jason Rogers (JasonRogersFotograph)/flickr CC BY 2.0