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Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

by Roy, Christopher


AC41528 - Francini v. Riggione ("This appeal arises from a breach of contract and private nuisance action brought by the plaintiffs, Peter J. Francini, Trustee, and Donald W. Anderson, Trustee, on behalf of the Peter J. Francini 1992 Revocable Family Trust, against the defendant, Nicholas A. Riggione. After a five day trial to the court, the court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on their breach of contract claims, but denied their request for injunctive and equitable relief on their private nuisance claim.The defendant appeals from the court's subsequent award, after determining that the plaintiffs were the prevailing party, of approximately $90,000 in attorney's fees. On appeal, the defendant essentially claims that the court abused its discretion in calculating the award of attorney's fees (1) because in awarding fees to the plaintiffs on their claims related to a breach of contract between the parties, a proper analysis of the factors listed in rule 1.5 (a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct would compel a significant downward departure from the plaintiffs' initial lodestar calculation; and (2) when it awarded fees for a private nuisance claim on which the plaintiffs did not prevail. We agree with the defendant that the court abused its discretion in awarding attorney's fees for a claim on which the plaintiffs did not prevail. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court in part and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.")