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December 11 hearing on this motion, on January 20, 1998, the trial court issued an order denying it. Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal.

  • III.


    • A.

      Appealability and Standard of Review

An order denying a motion for attorneys’ fees under section 1021.5 is appealable. (See our opinion in Norman I. Krug Real Estate Investments, Inc. v. Praszker (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 35, 46.)

As we have also noted, “[a]n award of attorney fees under section 1021.5 lies within the trial court’s discretion and will not be reversed on appeal absent a showing of abuse.” (Committee to Defend Reproductive Rights v. A Free Pregnancy Center (1991) 229 Cal.App.3d 633, 645, citing Baggett v. Gates (1982) 32 Cal.3d 128, 142-143.) Numerous other recent appellate decisions have reiterated this principle. (See, e.g., Schwartz v. City of Rosemead (1984) 155 Cal.App.3d 547, 554-555 (Schwartz); Bartling v. Glendale Adventist Medical Center (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 97, 103; Feminist Women’s Health Center v. Blythe (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 1641, 1666 (Blythe); Satrap v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 72, 77; Hewlett v. Squaw Valley Ski Corp. (1997) 54 Cal.App.4th 499, 544.)

As applied, this rule means that we should not reverse unless “the record establishes there is no reasonable basis” for the trial court’s action. (Blythe, supra, 32 Cal.App.4th at p. 1666.) Particularly in a case such as this, fully briefed and argued before the same trial court which heard (and partially granted) the petition, this is not an insignificant point.

Public Benefit v. “Individual Stake” The trial court’s order on the issue of attorneys’ fee noted, initially, that section 1021.5 “allows an award of attorneys’ fees where a private individual enforces an important right affecting the public interest which confers a significant benefit to a large B.


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