Torres ordered to pay attorney’s fees

November 26, 2013
Dee Torres in court with attorney Roy Ogden

Dee Torres in court with attorney Roy Ogden

Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo’s homeless services director Dee Torres will pay $17,681 in attorney’s fees to attorney Stew Jenkins over a slander lawsuit she filed.

San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera made the fees ruling Monday, after previously dismissing Torres’ lawsuit against Mike Brennler, a private investigator who had been working with CalCoastNews on articles about abuses of the homeless.

LaBarbera slashed the attorney’s fee award sought by Jenkins from $41,930 to $17,681.

In cutting the attorneys’ fees, LaBarbera found the amount of time Jenkins spent on the case to be “somewhat excessive.” He noted that Torres’ attorney Roy Ogden had billed his client $8,400 for 30.5 hours of work.

Torres filed the slander lawsuit earlier this year claiming Brennler defamed her character by repeating statements from multiple sources who said Torres pilfered gift cards, clothing and household items donated to the homeless.

Jenkins, who took the case without a retainer, battled back telling the court Torres had filed a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) aimed at silencing free speech through intimidation.

California’s anti-SLAPP statute serves to counteract the chilling effect that arises from over aggressive plaintiffs’ use of the judicial process. If a judge determines the lawsuit was an attempt to stifle free speech, the plaintiff is required to pay the defendant’s attorney fees and costs.

 


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MaryMalone

I have an issue with the judge’s slashing of Jenkins’ legal fees.


Considering the nature of the lawsuit, which included many contacts made by reporters and Mike Brennler in collecting information for the defense, and the history of the retaliatory behaviors of Dee Torres and her knight-in-doofus-armour, Adam Hill, there was quite a bit of history with which Jenkins had to become familiar.


This takes time and that time equals billable hours.


According to the article, the judge “…noted that Torres’ attorney Roy Ogden had billed his client $8,400 for 30.5 hours of work.”


I don’t see that as valid evidence to support the judge’s decision to slash Jenkins’ legal fees. Even if Torres paid for those legal fees–about which I have my doubts–much of the background was already done by CAPSLO’s legal minions in dealing with Torres’ many other issues against CNN. Therefore, the prep time may very well have been greatly decreased because of prior work done by CAPSLO.


In addition, the issues involved in prosecution and defense cases are different, especially in this case as it appears that Torres just scooped a handful of BS claims, threw it against the wall, and went with whatever stuck to the wall.


Just my opinion…your mileage may vary.


smile4thecamera

I don’t feel Jenkins’ legal fees should have been slashed either. With all that has gone on, I bet he earned every billable hour on his invoice.


MaryMalone

I bet she pays it off with gift cards.


SLOBIRD

Peanuts, pocket change! Adam will take it out of his campaign fund, after all, he probably advised her on this great move to hush the truth.


scoopone

CAPSLO has no legal right and should not pay Torres’ court-awarded attorney fees. I expect CCN to keep a close eye on this transaction. The County and City of SLO should keep out of it. Torres has to bear the brunt of her stupid lawsuit.


MaryMalone

ITA. The only way to stop this kind of frivolous lawsuit is to make the individual initiating it responsible for filing it.


OnTheOtherHand

I don’t know about that. If there is a lawyer assisting that individual, they should share in the pain of paying the opposing lawyer’s fees. That would make them much more likely to advise against such lawsuits and less likely to help file them.


slowtime

I very much agree with your statement. A lot of Lawyers operate with impunity and just file Actions to keep their buddies and industry busy, with no regard for the truth or what is right or lawful.


jrstone

Tis The Season To Be Jolly, La, La, La, La-La-La-La!


Just sayin’…


MaryMalone

Or, in Torres case, “Tis the season to be jolly” with gift cards meant for CAPSLO’s homeless clients.


BTW, is CAPSLO running another gift-card drive for its homeless clients?


Nothing says “the Spirit of Christmas” like a grossly overpaid homeless-services executive ripping off gift cards which had been collected with the stated intent of distribution to homeless people.


SLOChildrenAtPlay

Luckily it’s the holiday season, so Torres should have a pretty steady stream of CAPSLO charitable donations she can divert to paying her legal fees. I wonder if Jenkins will accept partial payment in gift cards?


IronMan

So, you got a judgment against a POS. Now, the difficult part will come in collecting the money! Oh, that is right, Dee has access to and endless pot of money. Hopefully the City of SLO under Asbaugh will increase the City’s funding to CAPSLO to cover this expense>


Myself

So where is the follow up about this mess with capslo is the DA investigating,is the state here doing an audit,is anyone looking into this.


mbactivist1

Great news! Congratulations to Mike Brennler, Stew Jenkins and, of course, CCN