Court of Civil Appeals of Oklahoma, Division No. 1
Rehearing Denied: 03/21/2019
Mandate Issued: 11/07/2019
OPINION HAS BEEN RELEASED FOR PUBLICATION BY ORDER OF THE
COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS, Division 1
FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, OKLAHOMA;
HONORABLE RUSSELL C. VACLAW, JUDGE
P. Akers, Frederick S. Esser, Law Center of Akers & Esser,
Bartlesville, Oklahoma, for Appellant,
M. Elias, Rick D. Tucker, Robinett King Elias Buhlinger Brown
and Kane, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, for Appellees.
Plaintiff/Appellant Bharat Mittal seeks review of the trial
courts order awarding attorneys fees to
Defendants/Appellees Bluestem Emergency Medical P.L.L.C., a
professional limited liability company, and Thomas W. Britt,
Roger J. Cotner, Holly B. Fouts, Ronald L. Hay and Ruth M.
Thompson (Defendants), after the Court of Civil Appeals
affirmed the trial courts order granting the Defendants
motion for summary
judgment in Mittal v. Bluestem Emergency Medical
P.L.L.C., et al, Case No. 112,890 (Ok. Civ. A.D. II,
July 21, 2015) (Mittal I ), and on remand after the
Plaintiffs appeal from the trial courts initial award of
attorneys fees to Defendants in Mittal v. Bluestem
Emergency Medical P.L.L.C., et al, Case No. 113,483 (Ok.
Civ. A.D. IV, February 25, 2016) (Mittal II ). In
this second appeal from the award of attorneys fees,
Plaintiff complains that, contrary to the specific directions
of the Court of Civil Appeals in Mittal II, the
trial court on remand failed to make the requisite findings
to sustain the trial courts award of attorneys fees.
We take the following facts from Mittal II .
"Mittal filed suit against Defendants, claiming that
Defendants breached various contracts, breached their
fiduciary duty and tortiously interfered with his
contracts." Mittal II, p. 2. "The district
court granted Defendants motion for summary judgment and
Mittal appealed" in Mittal I . Id.
"While [Mittal I ] was pending, Defendants
filed a post-trial motion for attorney fees and costs."
Mittal II, p. 2. Defendants asserted that they were
entitled to an award of attorney fees pursuant to 12 O.S.
2011 § 936 and 12 O.S. 2011 § 1101.1." Id.
"Additionally, Defendants argued that they were entitled
to an award of attorney fees pursuant to the courts inherent
equitable authority to award fees where a party engaged in
oppressive litigation conduct." Id.
"The district court granted the motion over Mittals
objection." Mittal II, p.3. "The courts
order states that it found cause to sustain the motion for
each of the different claims Defendants raised[,] [and]
[f]urthermore, the fees and costs assessed by counsel for the
Defendant, and the time associated thereto, are reasonable
time and expenses for this case. " Id.
"Mittal filed a Motion for a New Trial, asserting that
the grant of attorney fees and costs was an abuse of
discretion, that the district court failed to apportion the
fees, and that the award was not sustained by evidence[,]
[but] [t]he district court denied Mittals motion" for
new trial. Id. Plaintiff then commenced his appeal
in Mittal II .
On appeal in Mittal II, the Court of Civil Appeals
reversed the trial courts order awarding attorneys fees to
Defendants and remanded for further ...