Sampson v. Parking Service 2000.Com, Inc., 117 Cal. App. 4th 212 (2004)

George Sampson filed a wage claim with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (the Labor Commissioner) in which he sought unpaid overtime, vacation pay, tips and penalties. After a two-day administrative hearing (at which Sampson was represented by an attorney), the hearing officer decided in Sampson’s favor and awarded him approximately $58,000. The employer challenged the decision and sought a trial de novo in the superior court. After a five-day trial, the court also ruled in Sampson’s favor. After the trial, Sampson filed a request for $45,598 in attorney’s fees, including fees that Sampson incurred in the administrative proceeding. Based upon Labor Code § 1194, the trial court awarded Sampson only $6,750 (part of the attorney’s fees that he allegedly incurred in the civil action) and nothing for the fees that he incurred during the administrative proceeding. The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that Sampson was not entitled to recover any of the attorney’s fees that he incurred in the administrative proceeding.