Q: Who's going to be responsible for the court and attorney costs in my business dispute?
A: You have not provided sufficient details to be able to provide a reliable response. If this dispute arose out a contractual relationship, the contract may provide an answer, or at least guidance. If you are represented, this question is best directed to your own lawyer, who should explain this to you.
Mark Oakley agrees with this answer
A: In the U.S., the “American Rule” is that each party bears their own attorney fees. That’s the default rule. The parties may have agreed by contract to shift the burden of legal fees to the losing party in a dispute arising out of their contract. That provision would be enforced. A court can award “costs” to a prevailing party, but that is limited to filing fees, service of process fees, etc. Actions based on statutory violations, usually consumer law actions, often have a statutory basis to ask for an award of attorney fees, but that is unlikely in a business dispute. You are entitled to pre-judgment interest in any amounts awarded, 6% per year, from the date the debt or loss was incurred, which may help defray some costs. Reaching a compromise settlement to avoid costly litigation fees and an uncertain result should always be explored before getting too far down the road. The price of standing on principle and your legal rights can be steep. Keep in mind Voltaire’s famous quote: “I was never ruined but twice: once when I lost a lawsuit, and once when I won one.”
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