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Free Attorney? Sometimes!

Free Attorney? Sometimes!

For some this blog post will not provide any new information but many may not realize that certain areas of law require that a defendant pay for your attorney's fees and costs.  In this post, we discuss certain areas where by law, statute, or code, the attorney’s fees and costs of an aggrieved party must be paid by the other side. 

Consumer Protection (Lemon Law)

In California, consumers who purchased defective goods at retail are generally protected by the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.  This law is most commonly used for automobiles and is more commonly known as the “lemon law”.  But in fact, the law protects all goods sold at retail. 

Consumer protection laws contain an attorney fee and cost provision.  Meaning, if the manufacturer or distributor sold you a defective vehicle (lemon), then it must pay the attorney fees/costs associated with litigating your lemon law claim.

As such, there is generally very little downside in hiring an attorney in consumer protection or lemon law action.  But be wary.  Some attorneys will try to receive their fees/costs AND a portion of your recovery.  Be sure to read the agreement between you and your attorney carefully.  Naderi Law Group specializes consumer protection and lemon law cases.  Call us for a free consultation. 

Americans With Disabilities Act and UNRUH Violations

The ADA (Federal) and UNRUH (California) were enacted to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities.  Businesses which do not provide appropriate accommodation and access to facilities could be in violation of the ADA.  In recent years, the ADA has been used by a few bad apples to file multiple lawsuits to essentially squeeze money from businesses – in most cases with no intention of ever going to the store or business.  So, if you’re one of these bad apples or aspire to be, move along!

For those legitimately discriminated against by not being provided appropriate accessibility, the ADA and UNRUH provide that a successful plaintiff shall recover attorney’s fees and costs against the business.  This is to ensure that those who may not have the means to hire an attorney are given a level playing field against corporations and businesses.

Special Need Students

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), students diagnosed with certain disabilities are covered by law and are entitled to receive special education services.  Many times, parents must fight when a school or a district deny special education services to their children.  When this happens, parents have no choice but to file suit.  The alternative would be providing expensive, private special needs education services out of their own pocket which is impractical for most families. 

As such the IDEA provides that the court may award reasonable attorney’s fees to the parent of a child with a disability that is denied lawfully entitled special education services. 

Employer Violations

Employees who win in certain wage and hour claims are entitled to attorney’s fees and costs.  For instance, in situations such as unpaid wages or failure to pay overtime, the Labor Codes not only allow the recovery of penalties for such violations, it provides for a “one-way” fee shifting statute for attorney’s fees and costs (absent a finding the lawsuit was filed in bad faith) for the employee.  The law surrounding employment violations are vast and highly complicated.  Every employment situation is different.  Being guided by the right attorney is key. 

To Sum Up…

The purpose of these laws and many others is that the aggrieved/injured person, party, or child should have the ability to obtain the justice they deserve even when they may not have the means or ability to pay litigation costs.  The idea being that the aggrieved party is made whole and the attorney is reasonably compensated for the services he/she rendered. 

But be alert.  Not all attorneys are the same.  Watch out for attorneys who want to receive their fees/costs AND a portion of your recovery.

--- This blog post was created by Ray Naderi of the Naderi Law Group.  Ray is a trial attorney representing clients across California.  Have questions?  Contact us today at no cost. 

Ray Naderi