A.R.S. 44-1265 Interpretation
Section 44-1265(B), A.R.S., states that, if "a consumer prevails in an action under this article, the court shall award the consumer reasonable costs and attorney fees."
Although no opinion has considered an award pursuant to this provision, a case interpreting a similar fee provision provides guidance.
In Exodyne Prop., Inc. v. City of Phoenix, 165 Ariz. 373, 380, 798 P.2d 1382, 1389 (App. 1990), the Court analyzed A.R.S. 12-2030 (Supp. 2002), which provides that "a court shall award fees and other expenses including reasonable and necessary attorney fees" to a prevailing party in a mandamus action.
The Court determined that, although the language of 12-2030 mandates a fee award, the court "may still make a determination of reasonableness." Id.
This rationale is applicable to A.R.S. 44-1265. Although the court must award attorney's fees to a prevailing party in a Lemon Law action, because the court also must determine what fees are reasonable, A.R.S. 44-1265, we consider the trial court's decision as an exercise of its discretion. City of Tempe v. Outdoor Sys., Inc., 201 Ariz. 106, 113 P31, 32 P.3d 31, 38 (App. 2001).
When provided with discretion to calculate the amount of fees to grant, the court may award less than the requested amount, a calculation not disturbed on appeal absent a clear abuse of the trial court's discretion. Hunt Inv. Co. v. Eliot, 154 Ariz. 357, 362, 742 P.2d 858, 863 (App. 1987).