Shapira v. Lifetech Resources, LLC, 2018 WL 1804993 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018)

Achikam Shapira sued his former employer for breach of an employment contract. The case proceeded to a bench trial. After the parties rested but before submitting their closing arguments in brief form, Shapira requested that the trial court dismiss his action pursuant to Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 581(e). The trial court denied Shapira’s request to dismiss, ruled in favor of Lifetech and awarded it costs and prevailing party attorneys’ fees in the amount of $137,000. The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment and held that Shapira had the right to dismiss the action before completion of the trial (which includes closing arguments), so Lifetech was not the “prevailing party” nor was it entitled to recover its attorneys’ fees.