If the son of Aeacides had ever become a lawyer, this is exactly the kind of case he'd have taken, all the way to the Supreme Court. Technically, the wage and hour attorney representing the plaintiff/employee won the appeal. Technically. But make no mistake about it, when the parties read the opinion issued this morning in Harrington v. Payroll Entertainment Services, Inc. (2008) __ Cal.App.4th __, it wasn't Mr. Harrington who was smiling.
Here's what the Second District Court of Appeal had to say in its opening paragraph:
This was a dispute about $44.63 in unpaid overtime, which was settled for $10,500, after which the plaintiff asked the trial court for about $46,000 for his attorneys’ fees. The trial court denied the motion outright, and the plaintiff now appeals on the ground that he has a statutory right to recover his reasonable fees. We agree, reverse the order, and award him $500 for his fees.
No, those are not typos. Those are the numbers. Suffice it to say, the rest of the opinion included little praise for the plaintiff or his lawyers. We suspect, although we didn't attend Tuesday's oral argument (yes, the opinion was published just a day and a half later), that the justices were quite hostile to the appellant during those proceedings. If you want to read their entire opinion, you can find it here in pdf or word format.