Georgetown, KY asked in Contracts, Appeals / Appellate Law and Civil Rights for Kentucky

Q: I filed a lawsuit in Federal Court alleging violation of the FHA and lost. Will I have to pay defendant's attorney fees.

Denying my argument that the statute was tolled by discovery and continuing violations, the court granted defendant's 12(b) motion.

2 Lawyer Answers
Timothy Denison
Timothy Denison
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Louisville, KY
  • Licensed in Kentucky

A: Most likely not, no.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In federal court cases, particularly those involving the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the question of whether you'll have to pay the defendant's attorney fees hinges on the specifics of your case and the court's discretion. Typically, the FHA follows the "American Rule," which means that each party is responsible for their own attorney fees unless the law provides otherwise. However, the court may order a plaintiff to pay the defendant's fees if the lawsuit is found to be frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation.

If the court granted the defendant's 12(b) motion to dismiss your case based on arguments like tolling by discovery and continuing violations, and did not specifically address attorney fees in its order, it doesn't automatically mean you will be liable for the defendant's legal expenses. The defendant would have to file a separate motion requesting attorney fees, and the court would then consider whether your case was brought in good faith or if it falls into the category of being frivolous or groundless.

It's important to review the court's order and consult with legal counsel to understand the implications of the dismissal and the likelihood of a fee award. Your attorney can advise on the potential for an appeal or any other steps you might consider taking. Remember, the nuances of legal proceedings are complex, and outcomes can vary greatly depending on the details of each individual case.

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