Assuming you are referring to a state superior court action, a motion for attorney's fees should be brought within the same time period as for filing the notice of appeal (30 days for limited jurisdiction, 60 days for unlimited jurisdiction).
California Rules of Court, Rule 3.1702, provides:
Except as otherwise provided by statute, this rule applies in civil cases to claims for statutory attorney's fees and claims for attorney's fees provided for in a contract. Subdivisions (b) and (c) apply when the court determines entitlement to the fees, the amount of the fees, or both, whether the court makes that determination because the statute or contract refers to "reasonable" fees, because it requires a determination of the prevailing party, or for other reasons.
(b) Attorney's fees before trial court judgment
(1) Time for motion
A notice of motion to claim attorney's fees for services up to and including the rendition of judgment in the trial court-including attorney's fees on an appeal before the rendition of judgment in the trial court-must be served and filed within the time for filing a notice of appeal under rules 8.104 and 8.108 in an unlimited civil case or under rules 8.822 and 8.823 in a limited civil case."
With respect to the Memorandum of Costs, California Rules of Court, Rule 3.1700(a)(1) provides:
"A prevailing party who claims costs must serve and file a memorandum of costs within 15 days after the date of mailing of the notice of entry of judgment or dismissal by the clerk under Code of Civil Procedure section 664.5 or the date of service of written notice of entry of judgment or dismissal, or within 180 days after entry of judgment, whichever is first. The memorandum of costs must be verified by a statement of the party, attorney, or agent that to the best of his or her knowledge the items of cost are correct and were necessarily incurred in the case."
The failure to timely file a Memorandum of Costs is jurisdictional, so there is no relief under Code of Civil Procedure §473(b).
Normally, the amount of attorney's fees is filled in on the Memo of Costs Summary, and the Memo of Costs and Motion for Attorney's Fees is concurrently filed.
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, consult with your own attorney.
While I cannot give you legal advice in this forum, you should start with CRC 3.1700 and 1.702.
THIS RESPONSE IS INTENDED TO CONVEY GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY. IT SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON OR TAKEN AS LEGAL ADVICE. FURTHER, THIS RESPONSE IS NOT INTENDED TO AND DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.