In California, the Attorney General oversees charitable trusts. This responsibility includes bringing legal actions against trustees who breach their fiduciary duties. Government Code section 12598 provides that the Attorney General is entitled to recover from a defendant all reasonable attorney’s fees and actual costs incurred in an action to enforce a charitable trust. But what happens when the Attorney General is only partially successful in its case against the defending trustee of a charitable trust?
People ex rel. Becerra v. Shine (2020) ____ Cal.App.5th ____ provides the answer. The Government Code does not require a stringent analysis of whether the Attorney General has achieved all of its litigation goals or has been completely successful on every claim. Further, the Attorney General is entitled to attorney’s fees when it has generally accomplished what it set out to do, which in People v. Shine was to prove that Shine had breached his fiduciary duties and to recover funds for the trust.