Plaintiff settled his civil rights case against the City of San Jose literally the day before trial for $150,000, and the plaintiff’s attorneys made an application for attorney fees in excess of $1 million. The trial court reduced the fee award, without explanation, to $400,000.
Held: Reversed. Attorneys correctly calculated their fee using the lodestar method. This was the presumptively correct fee and if the court wanted to reduce it by more than 10%, then the court was required to have given a detailed explanation.