Attorney fees on appeal

The Idaho Supreme Court announced a new standard for an award of attorney fees under Idaho Code § 12-121. See Hoffer v. Shappard, 2016 Opinion No. 105 (Idaho Sept. 28, 2016). Section 12-121 reads: “In any civil action, the judge may award reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party or parties, provided that this section shall not alter, repeal or amend any statute which otherwise provides for the award of attorney’s fees.” Since 1979, Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 54(e)(2) has limited the Idaho courts’ discretion to award attorney fees under the statute to instances where a case was “brought, pursued or defended frivolously, unreasonably or without foundation.”

Not anymore. Under the standard announced in Hoffer, “prevailing parties in civil litigation have the right to be made whole for attorney fees they have incurred ‘when justice so requires.’” Id. at 20. The Court did not offer guidance on the meaning of “when justice so requires.” Because the new standard “may have profound effects on litigants,” it does not become effective until March 1, 2017. Id. at 21. But, notably, the new standard “will have prospective effect, applying to all cases that have not become final as of that date.” Id.
Continue Reading Idaho Supreme Court announces significant change to standard for attorney fees under Idaho Code § 12-121

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).Continue Reading The Idaho Supreme Court Just Awarded Your Client Attorney Fees on Appeal; Don’t Forget to Timely File a Memorandum of Costs

Must a party seek to “recover” on a commercial transaction before attorney fees are allowed under Idaho Code § 12-120(3)? Stated differently, does an action for declaratory or injunctive relief preclude attorney fees under the statute? The Idaho Supreme Court addressed those questions in Idaho Transportation Department v. Ascorp, Inc., 2015 Opinion No. 94

In a recent post, we discussed Chavez v. Stokes, 2015 Opinion No. 64 (July 7, 2015), and the new standard of review governing the reasonableness of medical treatment in workers’ compensation cases. Chavez is also noteworthy for another reason: the Idaho Supreme Court granted attorney fees on appeal to the respondent worker because

Can there be a prevailing party when an action is voluntarily dismissed without prejudice?  According to the Idaho Supreme Court, the answer is yes.  Charney v. Charney, 2015 Opinion No. 59 (June 23, 2015), is a decision that should serve as a note of caution for Idaho litigators.

Two months following their divorce, Dennis Charney initiated contempt proceedings against his ex-wife, Judy Charney, for allegedly violating their property settlement agreement.  Judy denied the allegations and the matter was set for a hearing.  Two weeks prior to the hearing, Dennis filed a motion to dismiss the contempt proceedings, which the magistrate granted, dismissing the matter without prejudice.
Continue Reading Idaho Supreme Court Awards Attorney Fees to a Prevailing Party Where Contempt Proceedings Were Dismissed Without Prejudice

When key issues are left to the sound discretion of the trial court, and the trial court carefully weighs the evidence in deciding those issues, should the party on the wrong side of the decision appeal? That is a difficult and recurring question facing appellants. A recent Idaho Supreme Court decision suggests that appellate attorneys

As mentioned in a recent post, a panel of law clerks from the Idaho Supreme Court and the Idaho Court of Appeals provided advice on the practice of appellate law, based on their experience as clerks, at the April meeting of the Idaho Appellate Practice Section of the Idaho State Bar. Here are some

The Idaho Supreme Court’s decisions in Jayo Development, Inc. v. Ada County Board of Equalization, 2015 Opinion No. 25 (Feb. 26, 2015) and Arnold v. City of Stanley, 2015 Opinion No. 23 (Feb. 26, 2015), add something for appellate attorneys to consider when involved in proceedings where a person is adverse to a

Nampa Education Ass’n v. Nampa School District. No. 131, 2015 Opinion No. 22 (Feb. 26, 2015), is yet another recent case involving a request for attorney fees under Idaho Code § 12-117. There the Idaho Supreme Court refused to consider the request because the Nampa Education Association, the prevailing party on appeal, failed to

State of Idaho v. Grathol, 2015 Opinion No. 17 (Feb. 11, 2015) provides guidance to appellate practitioners on when an award of attorney fees on appeal may be allowed under Idaho Code § 12-121. Grathol is an eminent domain case. An issue on appeal was whether the Idaho Transportation Department, as the condemnor, was