Two recent cases before the Idaho Supreme Court highlight the procedure—and the importance of following the procedure—for securing an award of attorney fees on appeal.
The first case is City of Challis v. Consent of the Governed Caucus, 2015 Opinion No. 92 (Sept. 25, 2015). There, the Court awarded attorney fees and costs to the Caucus. In doing so, the Court clarified that it was the Supreme Court’s duty, not the duty of the district court, “to determine an appropriate award of fees and costs incurred on appeal . . . .” The Court explained: “In the event that the Caucus timely submits a memorandum of costs and fees” under I.A.R. 40(c) and 41(d), the Court is responsible for evaluating “that memorandum, and any objections thereto, to determine an appropriate award of attorney fees and costs.” (Emphasis added.) Pursuant to the Idaho Appellate Rules, a timely submission means that a memorandum for costs and attorney fees is filed “[w]ithin 14 days of the filing and announcement of the opinion on appeal.” See I.A.R. 40(c), 41(d).
The second case is Coeur D’Alene Tribe v. Denney, 2015 Opinion No. 88 (Sept. 10, 2015). There the Court awarded the Tribe attorney fees and costs. Eighteen days after the Court issued its opinion, the Tribe filed a Motion to Enforce the Court’s Order for Attorney Fees and Costs on Petition for a Writ of Mandamus. The State objected, arguing the Tribe missed the 14-day deadline to file its memorandum under I.A.R. 40 and 41. The Tribe’s position is that original writs before the Idaho Supreme Court are not subject to the Idaho Appellate Rules governing awards of attorney fees.
While the Court has not determined whether it will allow the Tribe’s request for fees in the Coeur D’Alene Tribe v. Denney action, City of Challis highlights the need to pay attention to the filing deadlines and procedures provided in the Idaho Appellate Rules. In short, if you are awarded attorney fees on appeal, your memorandum in support of your fees and costs should be filed with the Idaho Supreme Court within 14 days following the issuance of the opinion.