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Attorney Fees

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 17, 2024//

Attorney Fees

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 17, 2024//

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WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: Alden Associates v. Jacki Curry

Case No.: 2023AP000520

Officials: Stark, P.J., Hruz and Gill, JJ.

Focus: Attorney Fees

In the case of Jacki Curry versus Marge Alden, the court upheld Curry’s award of $138,202.18 in attorney fees following a successful counterclaim against Alden. Curry had won seven out of eight counterclaims in a previous bench trial, including constructive eviction, unjust enrichment, civil theft, conversion, tortious interference, trademark infringement, and defamation. Although Alden challenged the fee award, arguing it should be limited to statutory claims, the court maintained that the claims were interrelated and shared a common core of facts, justifying the fee calculation.

The court applied the lodestar method to determine reasonable attorney fees, taking into account the interrelated nature of Curry’s counterclaims and reducing the calculated fees by percentages based on the success rate of the claims. Alden argued against the inclusion of fees for non-statutory claims like unjust enrichment and conversion, but the court found these claims sufficiently related to civil theft, supporting a combined fee award. The court’s detailed consideration of statutory factors and the complexity of the case, including Alden’s lack of cooperation, further supported the award.

On cross-appeal, Curry argued for a different methodology in calculating fees. The court affirmed the fees against Alden’s challenges but remanded the case for reconsideration of Curry’s fee request using the proper methodology, ensuring compliance with statutory guidelines and a reasoned determination based on the interrelated nature of the claims and overall litigation context.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.

Decided 06/11/24

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