Can I Sue For My Attorney Fees?

Can I Sue For My Attorney Fees

Called the “American Rule” (see; also see ¬†Hunt v Sharp, 85 NY2d 883 [1995]), a prevailing party is ¬†responsible for the payment of its own attorneys‚Äô fees in a lawsuit in the New York state courts, with certain specific exceptions. ¬†The Rule is a departure from the “English Rule, where the prevailing party recoups its attorney fees.

The rationale for the American rule is that people should not be discouraged from ¬†pursuing a meritorious claim merely because that person would have to pay the adverse party’s attorney fees¬†expenses if they lost.

The exceptions to the Rule are: attorney fees are recoverable against an adverse party:

  • By express contractual provision
  • By statute, rule or regulation
  • Certain legal issues such as fraud
  • De facto attorney fees are recoverable when punitive damages are awarded
  • For frivolous pleading or motion practice as defined by statute and rule

While attorney fees generally constitute the bulk of litigation expenses, “fees and costs of suit”, which can amount to several thousand dollars, are generally recoverable by the prevailing party.

The American Rule creates the business-imperative of obtaining an estimate of litigation costs.  Ultimately, commencing or defending litigation, and when and whether or not to settle,  are a function of a proper cost/benefit analysis.  Stern Law Office is unique in its decades of providing accurate estimates, in advance, of the costs of litigation.  Contact Stern Law Office and find out the cost of litigation so that an educated business decision can be made.

Main Office:  Suffern (Wesley Hills), NY
Virtual Offices: Tarrytown and White Plains

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