Boiko v. KapolchokAnnotate this Case
A self-represented couple sued their lawyer for legal malpractice. After lengthy and contentious discovery disputes, at the end of which the couple was sanctioned, the couple retained counsel to assist them in terminating the litigation. The parties agreed to dismiss the suit with prejudice, leaving open the couple’s former lawyer’s right to seek an award of attorney’s fees. At issue in this appeal was the superior court’s decisions regarding that lawyer’s motion for attorney’s fees. The superior court applied Alaska Civil Rule 82 for its award of partial reasonable attorney’s fees to the lawyer. But instead of employing Rule 82(b)(2)’s standard 20% calculation for an award without a money judgment, the court applied Rule 82(b)(3), which allowed courts to vary from the standard award. The court made findings and exercised its discretion to use 15% for calculating its fee award to the lawyer, and it left the discovery sanction against the couple in place. The Alaska Supreme Court concluded that the superior court’s findings were not clearly erroneous and that the court did not abuse its discretion or otherwise err when it applied Rule 82(b)(3); furthermore, the Court also concluded the superior court did not abuse its discretion in levying and leaving in place the discovery sanction.