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Can Pro Per submit atty consulting fees incurred in development of a motion that sanctions are expected?

Berkeley, CA |

Filing motion to compel discovery

Not clear, but understand that if this atty attends hearing, writes motion and ONLY is associated with this motion I have a better chance? The clarity I need is atty. is not officially representing me in my actions, but is ONLY associated with me for this one other atty. client relationship is needed or will be presumed?

Attorney Answers 3


The pro per litigant can certainly try to claim such consulting attorney fees as part of the sanctions requested. However, the court will not likely grant such attorney's fees.

The rule is that if you are not an attorney, you will not be entitled to recovery attorney fees as reasonable sanctions for any discovery motions. Parties appearing in pro per may not recover attorney fees through discovery sanctions. (Kravitz v. Sup.Ct. (Milner) (2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 1015, 1020—but such parties may recover reasonably identifiable litigation costs (e.g., photocopying, transportation to and from court, etc.) even if those costs would ordinarily be included in a lawyer's hourly rate.) In fact, in the case of Argaman v. Ratan (1999) 73 Cal.App.4th 1173, 1175, the court held that a party in pro per (although an attorney) cannot be awarded attorney’s fees as a discovery sanction.

Nevertheless, nothing prevents you from including the request in your discovery motion. It would be best if the attorney with whom you consulted provide the declaration in support of your request for monetary sanctions.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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You have an even better chance if the atty actually prepares the motion and associates as counsel for purposes of the hearing, and attends to argue the motion as well.

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If you are not represented by legal counsel or you are representing yourself you do not have entitlement to legal fees. In regard to any consulting you might want to have him especially appear for the motion and request the attorney fees, it’s your best go.

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