Enhanced Remedies For Victims Include Attorneys’ Fees Awards
Appellate Court Broadens Attorneys’ Fees Awards
The California Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, the “Elder Abuse Act,” protects elders against financial and other abuse “by providing enhanced remedies which encourage private, civil enforcement of laws against elder abuse and neglect.” Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15600 et seq. The enhanced remedies for victims include the mandatory award of attorneys’ fees in financial elder abuse cases. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15657.5(a) (when a plaintiff proves by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant is liable for elder abuse, the court “shall award” to the plaintiff reasonable attorney’s fees and costs). The Alameda County, San Francisco, and California financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. pursue all remedies available to the victims of financial elder abuse, including recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs for bringing the suit. If you or someone you know is suffering elder abuse in Marin or elsewhere in California, call the elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm today at 415-441-8669, and we can help.
In a recent decision, California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed an award of attorney fees upon a finding of financial abuse, even though no economic or noneconomic damages were assessed. See Arace v. Medico Investments LLC, Appellate Case No. E071194 (5th Cir. Ct. App., Mar. 24, 2020).* The appeals court rejected defendant’s argument that an award of attorneys’ fees was improper where the jury had not awarded economic damages for the financial elder abuse.
The court noted that the fee provision in the Elder Abuse Act for financial abuse is not discretionary in nature. Instead, it requires the award of fees where it is proven by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant is liable for financial abuse:
“Under the plain language of the statute, an award of attorney fees is a mandatory form of relief regardless of whether the plaintiff is awarded any other form of relief.”
This broad view of entitlement to attorney’s fees and costs in financial elder abuse cases provides real support to senior victims who are indeed harmed by financial elder abuse but may have difficulty proving the extent of their economic injury.
If you or a loved one is or has been the victim of financial elder abuse in Alameda County, San Francisco or elsewhere in California, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other nursing home abuse attorneys at the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.
*Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in the case in any way.