McDowell Mountain Ranch Community v. Simons

In McDowell Mountain Ranch Community v. Simons, 216 Ariz. 266, 270,16, 165 P.3d 667, 671 (App. 2007), the parties had agreed that the prevailing party would recover "all attorney fees," and the prevailing party provided a detailed affidavit based on its billing records. 216 Ariz. at 267-68,4, 7, 165 P.3d at 668-69. The Court noted that the contract provision was binding only to the extent that it was reasonable and the stipulated amount was not "obviously excessive." Id. at 270,16-17, 165 P.3d at 671. The Court assumed that the fees as documented were facially reasonable, and held that the trial court had abused its discretion by halving the amount of fees requested without conducting a hearing. The Court noted that once a party requesting fees has made a prima facie showing of reasonableness, the burden shifts to the party challenging the fees to show the fees requested were excessive. The Court remanded for the court to consider evidence of the reasonableness of the fees and to enter an award to the prevailing party of all its fees, except those that the court expressly found clearly excessive. Id. at 271,21-22, 165 P.3d at 672.