The Bassett Firm
Toll Free : (800)310-9769
Main Phone Number : (214)219-9900
Fax Number : (214)219-9456

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, The Bassett Firm’s physical office is temporarily closed, but we remain open for business and will continue to fight the good fight for you. Please call or email us if there is anything that you need.

Holding Plaintiffs' Attorney to Task: Setting a higher bar for recovery of attorney fees

In 2006, the Texas Supreme Court provided a comprehensive set of guidelines requiring limited proof by Plaintiffs' attorneys for recovering attorney fees in cases where attorneys fees are statutorily mandated. The case, Tony Gullo Motors I, L.P. v Chapa, 212 S.W.3d 299 (Tex. 2006), required that claimants segregate their claims into recoverable and non-recoverable claims, and offer evidence that the fees were related to claim covered by the statute mandating attorney fees. 

However, in 2012, the Texas Supreme Court created a higher standard for recovery without even referencing their decision in Chapa. The Court's decision in El Apple I Ltd. V. Olivas, 370 S.W.3d 757 (Tex. 2012) overturned a $464,000 award set by the trial court and affirmed by the court of appeals. Myriam Olivas sued Applebee's, her employer, for sex discrimination and retaliation. The jury decided in her favor, and the trial court accepted testimony from her attorneys that they spent a combined 890 hours on the case. As the Supreme Court noted in their opinion, the testimony of the attorneys was completely unsupported by documentation or records. In overturning the award, Justice Hecht wrote that the "failure to produce any records supporting the hours they claimed to have spent on the case is fatal to their fee application."

Since Chapa and Olivas seem at odds, and the Court in Olivas does not even reference the decision in Chapa, attorneys in Texas can only assume that the new standard is one requiring a full recording of hours. This creates a new bar for Plaintiffs' attorneys; requiring them to account for their time, not just "ballpark" it.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

The Bassett Firm

3838 Oak Lawn Avenue
Suite 1300
Dallas, TX 75219

Toll Free: 800-310-9769
Phone: 214-219-9900
Fax: 214-219-9456
Map & Directions