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https://www.governor.nh.gov/sites/g/files/ehbemt336/files/documents/nh-v-ma-action.pdf

The pdf file linked above concerns a lawsuit that is very far from typical of lawsuits in the U.S.A. or anywhere else: One of the states is suing another. Nonetheless it reminded me of a question that has sometimes crossed my mind. Notice that on page 32 is says "New Hampshire requests that the Court order the following relief" and one of the listed items is "Award costs and reasonable attorney’s fees;"

Sometimes it is said that in England winning plaintiffs are awarded lawyers' fees and in the U.S.A. they are not. One reason this has been puzzling to me is that high-profile lawsuits covered in the news media often are reported to involve plaintiffs requesting that attorneys' fees be awarded, although in other contexts lawyers say that is not done in this country.

Under what circumstances are attorneys' fees awarded?

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Under what circumstances are attorneys' fees awarded?

Typically that is provided by statutory (be it state or federal) law or in the contract (if any) between the parties.

Attorney fees are awarded to the prevailing party. See M[ichigan]CL 570.1118. One common condition for awarding attorney fees is whether a party was vexatious or frivolous: MCL 600.2591.

For various causes of action, statutory law awards attorney fees to the prevailing plaintiff. See MCL 15.240(6) and 600.2911(7). This means that a defendant would not be awarded attorney fees even if he prevailed. That has prompted would-be defendants to preemptively file suit in an attempt to overcome the risk of having to pay attorney fees if the adversary prevailed. In 2017 this tactic became trending in Michigan and other states in the context of FOIA requests (or requests for public records).

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