There's a large space I will call "medium claims" in which lawyers are required for a plaintiff to seek judicial remedies, but the cost of litigation vs. the potential recovery leaves too much uncertainty in the risk/return calculus for aggrieved parties to actually sue. (This may be intentional and a public good, since it reduces the burden on the courts.)
Are there conditions in which the award of costs is relatively deterministic? I.e., are there jurisdictions and/or claims in which a plaintiff can expect with some certainty to be awarded all costs and fees if he prevails?
Just to illuminate my question, here are examples of the form of answers I can imagine, but the content of which is completely made up:
- In virtually all common law claims in which a finding of "gross negligence" is sustained, the plaintiff is awarded all costs.
- In claims for statutory damages that allow for recovery of costs, a prevailing plaintiff is awarded costs 50% of the time, but a losing plaintiff is ordered to pay the defense's costs 90% of the time.
- Federal courts nearly always follow any cited precedent in awarding costs when they are requested.
- State judges are so mercurial that nobody can predict if or how they will award fees in any case.