It took the San Francisco Bay Guardian, an independent weekly newspaper, nearly three years in court to get the city of Richmond, Calif., to turn over more than 500 pages of police records and citizen complaint documents.

But the greater legal odyssey is turning out to be the ensuing four-year battle between the paper’s lawyers and the city for attorneys fees stemming from suit. Last week, in an unpublished opinion, the First District Court of Appeal handed the paper’s attorneys a seeming victory by upholding a trial court’s order directing the city to pay more than $167,000 in legal fees.

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