Lolley v. Campbell, 28 Cal. 4th 367 (2002)

Chris Lolley filed a claim with the California Labor Commissioner to recover unpaid overtime wages and penalties. The Labor Commissioner awarded the employee $27,216, and the employer appealed to the superior court. At Lolley’s request, the Labor Commissioner determined that Lolley could not afford counsel and agreed to represent him in the superior court action. After Lolley received an award of $14,413.71 plus costs from the superior court, he filed a memorandum of costs requesting an additional $6,600 in attorneys’ fees. The superior court declined to award attorneys’ fees because Lolley had been represented by the Labor Commissioner and had not “incurred” fees within the meaning of the statute. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment, but the California Supreme Court reversed, holding that California Labor Code Section 98.2 does permit the recovery of attorneys’ fees even if the employee is represented by the Labor Commissioner.