Can I make the other side pay my attorney fees?

Jan 21, 2020

If you've found yourself involved in a legal dispute, you may be wondering if there are any options available for you to recover your attorney fees from the opposing party. In certain cases, it is indeed possible to make the other side pay your attorney fees, but there are certain requirements and considerations to keep in mind.

Understanding the American Rule

In the United States, the default rule is known as the "American Rule," which states that each party involved in a lawsuit is responsible for their respective attorney fees, regardless of the outcome of the case. This means that in most situations, unless there is a specific law or agreement allowing for fee-shifting, you are generally responsible for your own attorney fees.

Exceptions to the Rule

While the American Rule is the general default, there are certain exceptions that may allow you to recover your attorney fees from the other side:

1. Statutory Provisions

Some state and federal laws provide for fee-shifting in specific types of cases. These laws typically outline the specific circumstances under which attorney fees can be awarded to the prevailing party. It's essential to consult with an experienced attorney who can determine if any applicable statutes exist in your particular case.

2. Contractual Agreements

In certain situations, the parties involved may have entered into a contract that includes a provision for attorney fees. Such agreements often arise in commercial or employment contracts, where one party may agree to pay the attorney fees of the prevailing party in the event of a dispute. It's crucial to carefully review any contracts you have entered into to see if such provisions exist.

3. Bad Faith Conduct

In some cases, if the actions of the opposing party can be classified as "bad faith conduct," the court may allow fee-shifting. Bad faith conduct typically refers to actions that are dishonest, malicious, or aimed at causing unnecessary delays or expenses for the other party. However, proving bad faith can be challenging, and the court will carefully consider the circumstances before awarding attorney fees.

Consulting an Attorney

Given the complexity and variability in fee-shifting laws, it is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney specializing in law and government - legal matters. John P. Bennett, Attorney at Law, with extensive experience in various areas of law, can provide personalized guidance and help you understand your options regarding attorney fees in your case. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation and discuss your legal situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney for personalized advice regarding your specific case.

John P. Bennett, Attorney at Law - Law and Government - Legal