Opposing Party Legal Definition

In Nestande v. Watson (2003) 111 Cal.App.4th 232, the Court interpreted the term "opposing parties" as follows: "Section 1021.5 does not specifically define 'opposing parties.' In construing the statute, however, we must give the words their 'usual and ordinary meaning.' The dictionary definition of 'opposing' is 'opposite in position' or 'active in or offering opposition.' An 'opposite party' means 'an adversary in litigation.' Thus, we construe the term 'opposing party' as used in section 1021.5 to mean a party whose position in the litigation was adverse to that of the prevailing party. Simply put, an 'opposing party' within the meaning of section 1021.5 is a losing party. (Nestande, supra, at pp. 240-241.) Applying this definition, the Nestande court concluded that one respondent (Songstad) was not entitled to recover attorney fees from two governmental actors (Lever and Watson) who also had been named as respondents in a lawsuit brought by a third party (Nestande). (Nestande, supra, 111 Cal.App.4th at pp. 240-241.) The Nestande court reasoned in part, "... Lever and Watson were prevailing parties on the same side of the litigation as Songstad, and they were not opposing parties to Songstad." (Id. at p. 241.)