Court Award Attorney’s Fees
You are a party to a lawsuit. You believe you will win, and you think the other side should pay your attorney’s fees. Are you correct?
Mississippi courts follow the “American rule.” That rule states that in most cases a party must pay his own Lawyer, even if he wins the lawsuit.
The American rule, however, contains three general exceptions. A prevailing party can recover attorney’s fees if:
- A contract between the parties contains a provision that the losing party will pay the other’s fees.
- Congress or the Mississippi legislature has passed a law about them subject of the lawsuit that provides for the losing party to pay.
- The losing party has acted in a manner that would justify an award of punitive damages.
In addition, Chancery Courts often award attorney’s fees in domestic cases. Otherwise you usually pay your attorney’s fees, or the case is taken on a contingency basis.
Will the court award attorney’s fees in accident cases?
Many lawsuits involve a simple claim of negligence. For example, automobile accidents and slip and falls are usually based upon a claim of negligence. For those types of claims, the prevailing party will not receive an award of attorney’s fees. However, most Personal Injury Lawyers work on contingency fee basis, and you only pay your attorney’s fees if you get compensation.
What statutes provide for an award of attorney’s fees?
As mentioned above, some federal and Mississippi statutes provide for an award of attorney’s fees to the prevailing party. The statutes are too numerous to list here. Some examples, however, include:
- Federal civil rights claims.
- Federal employment discrimination claims.
- Lawsuits on an open account.
- Claims for securities fraud under Mississippi law.
Lawsuits can be expensive. If you believe you will become a party to a lawsuit, ask one of our Lawyers if an award of attorney’s fees is available or whether you have to pay your attorney’s fees.
Pepper & Odom Law Firm
Ridgeland, MS 39157
Original Content by: Attorney Craig Panter of The Panter Law Firm