BPE Achieves Significant Appellate Victory for the Town of Locke!

BPE Achieves Significant Appellate Victory for the Town of Locke!

By: D. Keith Dunnagan, Esq.

April 13, 2021

On April 2, 2021 the California State Third District Court of Appeal issued a ruling upholding two previous judgments for attorney’s fees and costs to BPE Law Group’s Client Locke Management Association (LMA). Previously, the trial court had ruled in favor of LMA on the underlying merits of the case and the appeals court had dismissed prior appeals. At stake in this hard-fought case was approximately $118,148 in post-judgment attorney’s fees that had previously been awarded to LMA. The Court of Appeal ruling marks a tremendous victory for BPE Law Group and its clients. The California Appeal Court has once again affirmed LMA’s position in the context of an extensive history of litigation spanning more than a decade.

As some of our readers know, BPE’s client LMA is a California Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation established by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. LMA’s purpose is “to improve the economic well-being, preserve the cultural and historical integrity, and manage the Town of Locke,” which is on the national register of historic places. The Town of Locke is historic for being the only town in the United States created for Chinese immigrant workers who came to America to build infrastructure, like the transcontinental railroad.

The issues in the original litigation between Appellant Esch and LMA were simple—LMA sought to judicially enforce its right of first refusal to purchase real property that Appellant Esch wrongfully purchased with full knowledge of LMA’s rights. Following LMA’s success in the underlying litigation, the procedural history became more complex and more costly. At each turn, Esch appealed the trial court’s decision and sought review by the Court of Appeal. These challenges culminated recently in the consolidated appeal of two grants of post judgement attorneys’ fees. BPE achieved a total victory in defeating Appellant Esch’s claims of duplicative and excessive fees, due process violations, failure to offer ADR, violations of Civil Code sections 1717 and 5975, and unclean hands.

The victory was truly a team effort. Chief Litigation Attorney, Robert Enos, lead a team of attorneys in support of LMA and the excellent outcome that was achieved and appeared to make an oral argument before a panel of three judges for the California State Third District Court of Appeal. Not many attorneys are given the opportunity to make an argument before the Appeals court. Robert met the challenge head on and made a flawless presentation in front of the panel of judges. Attorneys Meghan Dunnagan and Laura Ferret jointly drafted the appeal brief containing the legal arguments and authority supporting LMA’s position. Of course, none of the above would have been possible without the assistance of diligent support staff lead by Legal Assistant Sarah Martinez.

The above victory is just one example of the success that BPE Law Group consistently achieves through the use of thorough preparation, masterful written and oral advocacy, and collaboration.

The information presented in this article is not to be taken as legal advice and the results of every case vary. Every situation is different. If you are facing a legal issue of any kind, get competent legal advice in your state immediately so that you can determine your best options.

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