Kimicata v. McGee (CA1 5/10/12)

The right to attorney fees for injunctions against harassment.

The parties obtained harassment injunctions against each other. McGee asked for a hearing to quash Kimicata’s injunction, which the trial court did. McGee then asked for, and was granted, over $16,000 in attorney fees under 12-1809N. Kimicata appealed the fee award.

She argued that the statute’s first sentence relates to “enforcement” of court orders and so applies only to violation proceedings. The Court of Appeals holds that that sentence doesn’t restrict the third sentence, which is the one about fees and which refers to the “action,” not just the enforcement.

The statute requires a hearing but since Kimicata didn’t ask for one the court holds that she waived it. She also waived her argument that the trial court had to make findings of fact, by not asking the trial court to do so. But the opinion says that the trial court doesn’t have to do that anyhow.

One wonders whether all those court programs that encourage and teach do-it-yourself harassment injunctions will now mention that they can escalate the problem to a new level by introducing a huge financial issue. Great for lawyers, though.

(link to opinion)