Silver v. Autos of Amboy 267 N.J. Super 546 (App. Div. 1993)

In Silver v. Autos of Amboy 267 N.J. Super 546 (App. Div. 1993) the Appellate Division conducted an analysis of a fee application and held that if the claimant is successful in litigating a core set of facts fees should be awarded fees despite alternative theories which might not have been successful. In Silver the plaintiff brought a claim against the defendant automobile dealership, including seven counts, and received an award of $350.00, which was trebled. Thereafter, plaintiffs’ counsel made an application for attorneys' fees. His application was for 70 hours at $225.00 an hour. The trial Court, improperly, divided the total attorneys' fee award into the seven counts and thus made a decision to significantly reduce the award of attorneys' fees. The Appellate Division held that this was an inappropriate manner to determine an award of attorneys' fees and embarked upon a lengthy analysis as to the method to analyze a request for attorneys' fees in consumer fraud cases. In reversing the trial Court, the Appellate Division held that "such a mechanical approach is contrary to the spirit and the underlying remedial purpose of the Consumer Fraud Act."