Business LawBusiness LitigationContracts

Can I get attorney’s fees in my business lawsuit?

Everyone always wants them, very few people actually get them. There are generally three ways to get attorneys fees.

One, if they are explicitly granted as a part of a contract for which you are pursuing a breach of contract claim, if you win you will get Attorney’s fees. If you do not, you may have to pay theirs. I am a big advocate of including Attorney’s fees in the provisions of contract, especially if you have chosen not to include a mediation or arbitration clause.

Two, you can get Attorney’s fees is if they are mandated somehow by law. Many statutes, usually consumer protection statutes, include provisions for the plaintiff to receive their attorney’s fees. This is often because the actual damages in these cases are low, but as a society we want to incentivize businesses not to violate these consumer protection acts as well as encourage Attorneys to take these cases. There are also common law causes of action that typically include Attorneys fees, such as Fraud or Fraud in the Inducement.

Three, is somewhat covered by the Common Law aspect of Two, but is basically when “equity demands it.” When there are cases with really egregious facts that it is obvious the losing party refused to concede simply to cause the other party to have to spend money to collect, then a Judge may award reasonable attorney’s fees.

However, although everyone always asks for them, very few businesses actually ever get attorney’s fees in business disputes. If you have a lawsuit for a contract dispute, or a breach of contract, you will probably have to take as a cost of doing business the Attorney’s fees that you may incur.

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