Are “losing” plaintiffs eligible to recover attorney’s fees under the private attorney general statute? According to Bowman v. City of Berkeley (2005) 131 Cal.App.4th 173, a recent decision from the First District Court of Appeal, the answer may be yes. Plaintiffs won their initial due process claim in superior court when the court found that they did not receive a fair hearing during their opposition to a proposed development project. After the City held another hearing and re-approved the project, the superior court denied the rest of plaintiffs’ claims and found for the City. This decision was affirmed on appeal in Bowman v. City of Berkeley (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 572, and was discussed in a November 2004 Abbott & Kindermann article. The superior court subsequently awarded over $18,000 in attorney’s fees to the plaintiffs pursuant to the Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5. On appeal, the City protested that plaintiffs’ “real concerns” were their interests in the project and not the procedural due process claims. The appellate court disagreed and held that attorney’s fees are recoverable: 1) by a successful party, 2) in an action that enforces an important public interest right, 3) if a significant benefit has been conferred on the public, and 4) the financial burden makes an award appropriate. Even though the plaintiffs lost in the traditional sense because the project was ultimately approved, the Court of Appeal found that they were a successful party under the statute and ordered the City to pay attorney’s fees. The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.