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California Civil Code Section 1717.5

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Civil Code > California Civil Code Section 1717.5

1717.5.  (a) Except as otherwise provided by law or where waived by
the parties to an agreement, in any action on a contract based on a
book account, as defined in Section 337a of the Code of Civil
Procedure, entered into on or after January 1, 1987, which does not
provide for attorney's fees and costs, as provided in Section 1717,
the party who is determined to be the party prevailing on the
contract shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees, as provided
below, in addition to other costs. The prevailing party on the
contract shall be the party who recovered a greater relief in the
action on the contract. The court may determine that there is no
party prevailing on the contract for purposes of this section.
   Reasonable attorney's fees awarded pursuant to this section for
the prevailing party bringing the action on the book account shall be
fixed by the court in an amount that shall not exceed the lesser of:
(1) eight hundred dollars ($800) for book accounts based upon an
obligation owing by a natural person for goods, moneys, or services
which were primarily for personal, family, or household purposes; and
one thousand dollars ($1,000) for all other book accounts to which
this section applies; or (2) 25 percent of the principal obligation
owing under the contract.
   For the party against whom the obligation on the book account was
asserted in the action subject to this section, if that party is
found to have no obligation owing on a book account, the court shall
award that prevailing party reasonable attorney's fees not to exceed
eight hundred dollars ($800) for book accounts based upon an
obligation owing by a natural person for goods, moneys, or services
which were primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, and
one thousand dollars ($1,000) for all other book accounts to which
this section applies. These attorney's fees shall be an element of
the costs of the suit.
   If there is a written agreement between the parties signed by the
person to be charged, the fees provided by this section may not be
imposed unless that agreement contains a statement that the
prevailing party in any action between the parties is entitled to the
fees provided by this section.
   (b) The attorney's fees allowed pursuant to this section shall be
the lesser of either the maximum amount allowed by this section, the
amount provided by any default attorney's fee schedule adopted by the
court applicable to the suit, or an amount as otherwise provided by
the court. Any claim for attorney's fees pursuant to this section in
excess of the amounts set forth in the default attorney's fee
schedule shall be reasonable attorney's fees, as proved by the party,
as actual and necessary for the claim that is subject to this
section.
   (c) This section does not apply to any action in which an
insurance company is a party nor shall an insurance company, surety,
or guarantor be liable under this section, in the absence of a
specific contractual provision, for the attorney's fees and costs
awarded a prevailing party against its insured.
   This section does not apply to any action in which a bank, a
savings association, a federal association, a state or federal credit
union, or a subsidiary, affiliate, or holding company of any of
those entities, or an authorized industrial loan company, a licensed
consumer finance lender, or a licensed commercial finance lender, is
a party.
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Last modified: March 17, 2014