California Court Of Appeals Finds Employee Was Properly Awarded $30,000 In Attorney’s Fees On $300 Unpaid Wage Claim
In a notable case titled Beck v. Stratton, 9 Cal. App. 5th 483 (2017), the California Court Of Appeals affirmed an employee’s $30,000.00 attorney’s fees award stemming from an approximate $300 claim for unpaid wages.
After conducting an administrative hearing, the labor commissioner awarded employee Stratton $303.50 plus an additional $5,757.46 in liquidated damages, interest and statutory penalties for a total award of $6,060.96, against employer Thomas Beck. Beck then filed an appeal in the Los Angeles Superior Court, which resulted in an award to employee Stratton in the amount of $6,778.85, exclusive of attorney’s fees and costs. The trial court subsequently awarded Stratton $31,365 in attorney’s fees. In this appeal, Beck asserted that the attorney’s fees motion was unreasonably high (and also timely). The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment in favor of the employee Stratton. The Court rejected employer’s argument that the attorney’s fees award was unjust and grossly disproportionate to the disputed wage claim in the case of approximately $300.00.