Sat. Jun 19th, 2021

Appellant building operator challenged an order from the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), in favor of respondent building maintenance service company in a negligence action against respondent in which respondent was awarded costs and attorney’s fees.

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Overview

Appellant property owner entered into an agreement with respondent for janitorial services upon appellant’s property. The agreement contained a clause stating that respondent would indemnify appellant for respondent’s negligent acts or omissions. Plaintiff was injured on appellant’s property and filed a negligence action against respondent. Respondent filed a cross-complaint against appellant claiming negligence. Appellant filed a cross-complaint against respondent seeking indemnity and contribution under the janitorial services agreement. A jury returned a verdict in favor of respondent on the underlying negligence action and the trial court ordered that appellant take nothing on its cross-complaint against respondent. The trial court assessed costs and attorney’s fees for respondent finding that respondent was the prevailing party under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 1032. The court affirmed the portion of the order granting respondent costs as the prevailing party, but ruled that the costs could only be computed from the time that the cross-complaint was filed and that respondent was not entitled to attorney’s fees under § 1032 or by the language in the agreement between the parties.

Outcome

The court affirmed the order that granted costs to respondent building maintenance service company as the prevailing party in a negligence action filed by plaintiff for injuries incurred on appellant building operator’s property. The court reversed the portion of the judgment granting respondent’s costs incurred before the cross-complaints were filed and attorney’s fees to respondent.

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