The short answer is generally, “No.”

Pursuant to California Civil Code 1717 “In any action on a contract, where the contract specifically provides that attorney’s fees and costs, which are incurred to enforce that contract, shall be awarded either to one of the parties or to the prevailing party, then the party who is determined to be the party prevailing on the contract, whether he or she is the party specified in the contract or not, shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees in addition to other costs.” (emphasis added).

In practice this means the party with the stronger bargaining power cannot create a “one-way” provision. Also this is a caution for many parties who are forming contracts in California but are unfamiliar with this provision.

What happens if a one-way provision is contained in a contract and the contract is executed? What determines the contract interpretation, the contract or the Statute? Probably no surprise here….Statute wins, and the Court will interpret and apply the contract in a manner consistent with California Public Policy as codified by CCC 1717.

There is a limited exception in 1717 “Where a contract provides for attorney’s fees, as set forth above,that provision shall be construed as applying to the entire contract, unless each party was represented by counsel in the negotiation and execution of the contract, and the fact of that representation is specified in the contract.”

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