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Attorneys' Fees

Jul 23, 2020

COA affirms record $250,000 attorney’s fees order from family court

  A family court judge properly ordered a father to pay roughly $250,000 in fees and costs to his ex-wife’s attorneys and their children’s guardian ad litem in a modification action, the South Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled, affirming what is believed to be a record-breaking attorneys’ fees award. Charles Couch and Rita Couch […]

Jan 3, 2018

Fee provision covers efforts at collection post-judgment

  The attorney’s fee provision in a promissory note covered the costs incurred in collecting the debt post-judgment, the South Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled. The court rejected the so-called “merger doctrine” in a case of first impression, which should come as welcome news to lawyers who handle post-judgment debt collection work. Under the […]

Dec 22, 2017

Attorneys –  Fees – Contract – Promissory Note – Post-Judgment Collection

Raynor v. Byers (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-001-18, 4 pp.) (Paula Thomas, J.) Appealed from Aiken County Circuit Court (Doyet Early III, J.) S.C. App. Holding: Where the parties’ promissory note said, “In the event of default in the payment of this note, and if it is placed in the hands of an attorney for collection, […]

Sep 6, 2017

Bringing big guns to small battles could prove costly

A South Carolina pet supply company that sent high-priced Boston-based intellectual property lawyers into a contempt fight with a competitor could get stuck with a big legal bill, despite emerging the victor in the underlying litigation. Nutramax Laboratories argued that it was entitled to recover $55,506 in fees that it paid to its legal team […]

Aug 16, 2016

Fee-slashing order ‘clearly wrong,’ 4th Circuit rules

A South Carolina federal judge’s decision to cut attorneys’ fees to 5 percent of the request in a civil rights case over access to social services was “clearly wrong,” according to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote in the unanimous Aug. 8 opinion that Senior U.S. District Judge Margaret […]

Aug 12, 2016

Insurance – Improper Claims Practice Act – Attorney’s Fees – Insurance Trade Practices Act

Rush v. Zurich American Insurance Co. (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-140-16, 7 pp.) (R. Bryan Harwell, J.) 4:15-cv-04367; D.S.C. Holding: Even though there is no private cause of action under the Improper Claims Practice Act, S.C. Code Ann. §§ 38-59-20 et seq., since plaintiff has filed a breach of contract action, he can seek attorney’s fees […]

Jul 20, 2016

4th Circuit: Civil procedure rule’s ‘costs’ include attorney’s fees

It’s a well-known principle in U.S. civil law: Each party to a lawsuit is responsible for its own attorney’s fees, unless a statute or contract makes it clear that the other party may be held liable for those fees. The American Rule, as the principle is called, often means defendants get stuck paying steep legal […]

Jun 29, 2016

Civil Practice – Fee Awards Permitted Under Rule 41(d)

Andrews v. America’s Living Centers LLC (Lawyers Weekly No. 001-112-16, 18 pp.) (Gregory, J.) No. 15-1658, June 28, 2016; USDC at Asheville, N.C. (Reidinger, J.) 4th Cir. Holding: An award of attorney’s fees is permissible after a voluntary dismissal under Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(d), if the substantive statute underlying the lawsuit allows recovery of […]

Jun 28, 2016

Attorney forced to return $40K to estate

A Columbia lawyer who found himself caught between beneficiaries with conflicting wishes after being appointed to represent a woman’s estate now has to return more than $40,000 in compensation he took for his work. Not only that, but Edward Sullivan also has to pay from his own pocket attorney’s fees and other legal costs he […]

Jun 20, 2016

Trusts & Estates – Personal Representative – Partition Action – Attorney’s Fees – Common Fund Doctrine

Sullivan v. Brown (In re Estate of Kay) (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-055-16, 18 pp.) (H. Bruce Williams, J.) (John Few, Acting Judge, concurring in part & dissenting in part) Appealed from Laurens County (Donald Hocker, Probate Court Judge; Frank Addy Jr., Circuit Court Judge) S.C. App. Holding: The contest between a personal representative (PR) and […]

May 6, 2016

Identifying a winner

A real estate agent who accepted an offer of judgment for five times less than what his opponent subsequently received to settle his counterclaims still qualifies as the prevailing party under the Civil Rights Act, according to a novel decision that divided the South Carolina Supreme Court. The 4-1 opinion reverses a trial judge’s ruling […]

Apr 29, 2016

Civil Rights – Attorney’s Fees – Civil Practice – Offer of Judgment – First Impression – Counterclaim Settlement – Hunting

Hueble v. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-036-16, 15 pp.) (Kaye Hearn, J.) (John Kittredge, J., dissenting) Appealed from Greenwood County Circuit Court (Eugene Griffith Jr., J.) On writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals. S.C. S. Ct. Holding: The trial court should have awarded attorney’s fees to a civil […]

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