Often people who bring a lawsuit are hoping to not only be successful but also to recoup some of the costs they have incurred in hiring an attorney to bring suit. There is often the feeling that if someone has harmed you then that person should have to pay your attorney’s fees. Unfortunately, that is not always the reality.
Generally in New Hampshire, each party must pay their own attorney’s fees. Of course, if you are a self-represented party and do not have an attorney, then you would not be eligible to be awarded attorney’s fees. However, if you have retained an attorney then there are certain situations where you may be able to recoup your attorney’s fees.
The best chance for an award of attorney’s fees by the court would be if attorney’s fees are authorized by statute or court rule. There are certain statutes (laws) in New Hampshire that provide for attorney’s fees to the successful party. In other words, if you win your lawsuit and your action is being brought pursuant to a statute that includes an attorney’s fees provision, then you can request that the court grant an award of attorney’s fees. One of the most commonly-invoked statutes with an attorney’s fee provision is RSA 358-A, the New Hampshire Consumer Protection statute.
Attorney’s fees may also be awarded where there is a contract between the parties providing for attorney’s fees. The contract may contain a provision for reciprocal attorney’s fees so that the prevailing party would be awarded attorney’s fees. Parties may agree to include an attorney’s fees provision regardless of whether attorney’s fees would otherwise be provided for by statute in New Hampshire.
The court may also choose to award attorney’s fees where one of the parties has shown bad faith. In order for the court to make a ruling of bad faith, the court must consider behavior during litigation to be oppressive or unreasonably obstinate or must find that one of the parties caused the successful party to bring suit or file a pleading where it should not have been necessary to do so. In these situations, the court may choose to award attorney’s fees as an exception to the general rule.
It is important to note that even if you are successful and are awarded attorney’s fees, it does not mean that you will be able to recover all your attorney’s fees. The court will award reasonable attorney’s fees and it is within the court’s discretion to determine the amount that is deemed reasonable. Further, you may need to proceed with further motions and hearings in order to seek payment of those attorney’s fees.
The best way to recoup your attorney’s fees may be to retain an attorney that is knowledgeable about attorney’s fees awards. We have many knowledgeable attorneys at Welts, White & Fontaine, P.C. who practice in a variety of areas and may be able to help you.
To speak with one of Welts, White & Fontaine’s experienced attorneys, please call us today at (603) 883-0797, or use the contact form in the footer of this page. Welts, White & Fontaine is Nashua’s largest law firm and serves the legal needs of both individuals and businesses in towns such as Amherst, Milford, Hudson, Brookline, Windham, Hollis, Merrimack, Litchfield, Bedford, Londonderry, Pelham, and of course Nashua.
Author: Davi M. Peters
This blog is intended for informational use only. The information contained herein should not be construed as offering legal advice or a legal opinion or creating an attorney-client relationship.