When Can Plaintiff’s Get Attorney’s Fees in Contractual Disputes? There are some statutory provisions in the Georgia code that allow plaintiffs to recover attorneys’ fees. There are also ways in which plaintiffs can contract for attorneys’ fees when entering a deal. The following show the circumstances under which a plaintiff may recover attorneys’ fees in a contract dispute:
- The first way to recover attorneys’ fees is to provide for such relief in the contract itself. When drafting an agreement, it is important to consult an attorney to ensure that all provisions of the contract are valid and beneficial. Having a contract provision allowing for attorneys’ fees will provide an additional avenue for collecting the costs to resolve the dispute beyond the statutory limits.
- Under Georgia Code § 13-6-11, although litigation expenses are normally not allowed in contract dispute litigation, a jury may allow them if the defendant has acted in bad faith, has been stubbornly litigious, or has caused the plaintiff unnecessary trouble and expense. Georgia Courts have also applied this provision outside of contract disputes in other litigation areas.
- Another general provision is found in Georgia Code § 9-15-14 which allows for recovery of litigation costs and attorneys’ fees for frivolous claims, defenses, or other positions. This provision is applicable in all civil cases. The law is helpful to both plaintiffs and defendants when the opposing side enters pleas or defenses in a frivolous manner, wasting money and time.
- Other statutory provisions are more specific and restrictive. For example, Georgia Code § 13-1-11 provides for limited attorneys’ fees if a party fails to repay a debt. If an attorney is used to recoup the debt after the date of maturity, the defendant may have to pay attorneys’ fees up to a certain percentage of the principal and interest. Although this provides a cap of potential fees, the statute provides another potential avenue for recovery.
- In accordance with Georgia’s Prompt Payment Act, which can be found in the Georgia Code § 13-11, a contractor is entitled to payments upon the satisfaction of contractual precedents. If the other party fails to pay, the contractor, or subcontractor, will be entitled to recover a reasonable amount for attorneys’ fees. Another benefit to this statutory provision, is that bad faith is not necessary to prove in order to receive the damages.
If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys concerning your contract dispute and potential attorney fee claim, call us at 770.709.6050 or click “contact,” above.