Langenkamp, Curtis & Price Win Decision Upholding Rights of Teachers who Win Dismissal Cases to Reasonable Attorneys Fees at Fair Market Values
Monday, Jul. 23, 2018
By Langenkamp Curtis & Price LLP
On April 26, 2018, the Third District Court of Appeal issued the decision in Glaviano v. Sacramento City Unified School District overturning the refusal of the Sacramento Superior Court to issue attorneys fees at fair market value to a teacher whom Langenkamp, Curtis & Price had successfully defended in a dismissal hearing. The Sacramento City Unified School District had moved to dismiss Mr. Glaviano, a more than two decade veteran teacher, after he intervened to stop a fight between two students. Langenkamp, Curtis & Price successfully obtained a decision, after multiple days of hearing, holding that cause did not exist to terminate Mr. Glaviano and ordering his return to the classroom. When a teacher successfully defends himself or herself in a dismissal proceeding, by law the District shall pay, "reasonable attorneys fees incurred by the employee." The Sacramento County Superior Court denied fees after Langenkamp, Curtis & Price stood by their assertion that the actual reduced rates charged, including rates charged under and amounts advanced by the California Teachers Group Legal Services Program, were confidential and privileged. Langenkamp, Curtis & Price refused to reveal those rates and asserted that fees should be determined using the traditional lodestar method, "the reasonable hours spent, multiplied by the prevailing hourly rate for similar work in the community." After more than three years on appeal, Langenkamp, Curtis & Price, with co-counsel for the appeal, Altshuler Berzon, LLP, successfully obtained a decision from the Third District Court of Appeal overturning the Superior Court's denial of attorneys fees and holding that teachers who successfully defend themselves against dismissal are entitled to attorneys fees based on the lodestar method (i.e. at fair market rates for the legal work performed) and not limited to the hourly rate actually charged by their attorney.