Travis Z. Gonzales, an individual, Plaintiff-Appellee,
CarMax Auto Superstores, LLC, a Virginia Limited Liability Company; Santander Consumer USA, Inc., an Illinois Corporation; Safeco Insurance Company of America, a New Hampshire Corporation, Defendants-Appellants. Travis Z. Gonzales, an individual, Plaintiff-Appellant,
CarMax Auto Superstores, LLC, a Virginia Limited Liability Company; Santander Consumer USA, Inc., an Illinois Corporation; Safeco Insurance Company of America, a New Hampshire Corporation, Defendants-Appellees.
D. Rosner (argued), Rosner, Barry & Babbitt, LLP, San
Diego, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee.
A. Schlichter (argued), Steven C. Shonack, Jamie L. Keeton,
Schlichter & Shonack, LLP, El Segundo, California, for
Before: Stephen Reinhardt, Alex Kozinski, and Kim McLane
Wardlaw, Circuit Judges.
Fees / California Consumer Legal Remedies Act
panel held that plaintiff Travis Gonzales was not barred from
recovering appellate attorney's fees against CarMax Auto
Superstores, LLC, under Section 1782 of the California
Consumer Legal Remedies Act ("CLRA"), and remanded
to the district court to determine in the first instance
whether Gonzales qualified as a prevailing plaintiff under
the CLRA and the reasonableness of the fees he requested.
1782(b) of the CLRA provides that "no action for damages
may be maintained under Section 1780 if an appropriate
correction . . . is given . . . to the consumer within 30
days after receipt of the notice." Interpreting Section
1782, the California Court of Appeal held that no
attorney's fees were recoverable in actions for damages
under the CLRA unless the plaintiff's notice letter is
not appropriate or timely.
panel held that because plaintiff Gonzales sought only
injunctive relief for CarMax's violation of the CLRA,
CarMax's correction offer did not bar Gonzales from
recovering attorney's fees. The panel held that Section
1782(b) applied only to an action for damages.
panel held that it was relatively clear that Gonzales
achieved his litigation objectives, where he was awarded
summary judgment on appeal but the district court still had
to enter a final judgment on remand. The panel concluded that
the district court should determine in the first instance
whether Gonzales was a "prevailing party" under
section 1780(e) of the CLRA, and the reasonableness of
Gonzales' requested attorney's fees.
Z. Gonzales seeks attorney's fees under California's
Consumer Legal Remedies Act ("CLRA") in connection
with these two appeals, which were consolidated for purposes
of oral argument and decision. In Case No. 14-56842, we
granted summary judgment to Gonzales on his CLRA and Unfair
Competition Law claims. In Case No. 14-56305, we affirmed the
district court's denial of attorney's fees to CarMax
under Section 1780(e) of the CLRA.
application for appellate attorney's fees presents the
following issues: (1) whether Gonzales is barred from
collecting attorney's fees because CarMax proffered an
appropriate correction pursuant to Section 1782 of the CLRA;
(2) whether Gonzales is a "prevailing plaintiff"
under Section 1780(e) of the CLRA; (3) whether Gonzales's
attorney's fee requests are reasonable.
conclude that Gonzales is not barred from recovering
attorney's fees under Section 1782 of the CLRA.
Consequently, we remand to the district court to determine in
the first instance whether Gonzales qualifies as a prevailing
plaintiff under the CLRA and the reasonableness of the fees
he has requested.
CarMax's correction offer, whether it was appropriate or
not, does not bar Gonzales from ...