The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, yesterday (March 25) ruled that Michael Shames, former head of Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN), will have to pay legal fees incurred in a libel suit he lost at the trial level.
David Peffer, a UCAN whistleblower, and his attorney Mike Aguirre, had filed suit against Shames for alleged misdeeds at the organization. Shames sued Peffer and Aguirre for libel and interference with prospective economic relations.
Shames lost and was told to pay legal fees. He appealed, saying, among other things, that Aguirre should not get fees because he was represented by a member of his own firm, Mia Severson. The appeals court, disagreeing, said, "Shames has sued Aguirre personally as an individual, not as a representative of the law firm, and has not named the law firm as a defendant."
Shames contested the $12,500 fees awarded Peffer, but among several things, the appeals court noted that the trial court had knocked down Peffer's request from $37,474 to $12,500.