Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Saved by the courts: Last month I mentioned that California Gov. Gray Davis had made a little mistake when it came to submitting to arbitration with some lawyers who had sued the state over its illegal "Smog Impact Fee" assessed on people who registered vehicles from out of state in California.
Well, the courts have saved him -- and the California taxpayers.
Criticizing an $88.5 million payment as "completely in outer space," a state appellate court yesterday tossed out the award that would have been shared among three San Diego law firms that helped secure smog-fee refunds for some California motorists.
"The fact that attorneys even requested a fee award of that absurd magnitude from the taxpayers is a testament to the unreal world of greed in which some attorneys practice law," said presiding Judge Richard Sims.
The three-judge panel unanimously sent the case to a new arbitration panel with the direction that the attorneys cannot receive more than the $18 million originally awarded by a Sacramento County Superior Court judge, plus 10 percent interest accrued since the summer of 1998.
See, not all of the courts in California are wacky.