So, how can you get the other party to pay for your attorney’s fees in your court case? If you are either suing another party or being sued by them, are there ways for the other party to pay some or all of your legal fees or investigative costs, even if you lose the case? Some contracts have specific clauses stating that the prevailing party can receive some or all of their attorney’s fees paid for by the losing party. However, even if you don’t have such a contract, there may still be ways to have some of your attorney’s fees or costs paid for by the other party.
Wrongful Act Doctrine
In many states, there is a provision called the wrongful act doctrine, which may allow for recovery of attorney’s fees or even sanctions, investigative fees, and other costs. Please note that we are not attorneys and this information may or may not apply to your particular scenario. However, as investigators, we always look for activity by the other party that might be egregious or improper, triggering this doctrine. There are several actions that could trigger it, such as hiding assets, concealing information, failing to provide discovery, or not responding to a subpoena properly.
Again, you can find out in your particular case what triggers the wrongful act doctrine, but it’s important to identify all potential triggers so that you can present them to the judge in court. For example, if the other party engaged in fraudulent conveyance or put money in the wrong place at the wrong time, you can use these improper actions to support your claim.
Additionally, you may find that the other party is investigating you and using improper techniques and tactics. Several acts, such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the DPPA, and the Consumer Protection Privacy Act, set standards that the other party must follow when conducting an investigation or presenting their case. If they fail to follow these standards, it could also trigger the wrongful act doctrine.
Once the doctrine is triggered, you can ask the court to order the other party to pay your fees, including legal fees, investigative costs, and possibly fines or sanctions. It may also allow you to obtain more discovery from the other side. Therefore, whenever you have a case, working with your attorney and examining the wrongful act doctrine is essential to identify potential triggers.
Here’s another fact about attorney’s fees: if your contract with another party triggered this lawsuit and the contract states that they will receive attorney’s fees if they win, but it doesn’t mention anything about what happens if you win, in most states and jurisdictions, the prevailing party is automatically entitled to attorney’s fees. This is because it cannot be a one-way arrangement; if the contract benefits one party, it should also benefit the other.
Therefore, it’s important to check with your attorney to make sure you don’t miss out on any advantages you may have, such as catching the other party doing something illegal, improper, or even accidental that could benefit your case. We are not giving you legal advice, but we want to highlight what we see in cases.
Furthermore, the court has a great responsibility to use the wrongful act doctrine, which is created by the judiciary to make the case equitable. This doctrine permits the recovery of attorney’s fees and other costs when the other party’s acts or omissions, such as forgetting or overlooking something, cause you to incur expenses. Thus, it’s crucial to be aware of this doctrine to ensure that you don’t miss out on any potential advantages in your case.
Now, those expenses could include defending, maintaining, or even continuing the case. Sometimes, you may have to leave litigation if you don’t have all the necessary information. These costs are called special damages, where the defendant’s wrongful act caused the plaintiff to litigate in the first place. In some cases, the case may have been brought up because of improper acts from the other party. Therefore, it’s important to cast a wide net and identify any such activity. Sometimes, this requires more than what an attorney would typically do, such as conducting strategic investigations, research, analysis, or even observing the other party to see if their activities trigger attorney’s fee benefits or case advantages for you.
When you’re trying to determine if the wrongful act doctrine applies in your case, you won’t find anything in the statutes about it. You probably won’t even find case law or references to it because those specific terms do not always refer to it in the case. Instead, you may file a motion for damages or a motion to recover costs or compel discovery, and that falls under the theory of the wrongful act doctrine. Although it may not show up in the case text as the “wrongful act doctrine,” it is a long-recognized and genuine process in almost every state. It’s an exception to the rule about attorney’s fees.
In most states, the rule for attorney’s fees is that unless it’s in the contract and signed, you pay your own attorney’s fees. However, the wrongful act doctrine is an exception to that rule, and it’s well-established in almost every jurisdiction. You should take advantage of it whenever possible because the other side will do something wrong in almost every case. Everyone breaks some rule in litigation, and if you catch it and use it to your advantage, you can benefit financially and strategically. It may help you win the case, as the other side is now disadvantaged.
This has been established case law for over a hundred years, and you don’t want to miss out just because it’s not common or someone is not paying attention to the activities of your opponent. If you let them steamroll you and hide assets, documents, or information that could help you win the case, it could cost you more money in the long run. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify and use any such activity to your advantage. Don’t let the other party get away with improper acts that could benefit you in the case.
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