HB1459 (2012) Detail

Relative to court proceedings in civil actions.


HB 1459 – AS INTRODUCED

2012 SESSION

12-2330

09/04

HOUSE BILL 1459

AN ACT relative to court proceedings in civil actions.

SPONSORS: Rep. Kurk, Hills 7

COMMITTEE: Judiciary

ANALYSIS

This bill requires the supreme court to adopt rules regarding early dismissal of frivolous civil actions and award of attorney’s fees upon such early dismissal. The bill also requires the supreme court to adopt rules implementing an expedited procedure for civil cases where damages are $100,000 or less. The bill also establishes the allocation of litigation costs related to settlement offers.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

12-2330

09/04

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve

AN ACT relative to court proceedings in civil actions.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 New Subdivision; Court Proceedings in Civil Actions. Amend RSA 507 by inserting after section 17 the following new subdivision:

Court Proceedings in Civil Actions

507:18 Early Dismissal of Civil Actions; Rules. The supreme court shall adopt rules to provide for the dismissal of causes of action that have no basis in law or fact on motion and without evidence. The rules shall provide that the motion to dismiss shall be granted or denied within 45 days of the filing of the motion to dismiss. The rules shall not apply to actions under the jurisdiction of the judicial branch family division.

507:19 Award of Attorney’s Fees in Relation To Certain Motions to Dismiss. In a civil proceeding, on a trial court’s granting or denial, in whole or in part, of a motion to dismiss filed under the rules adopted by the supreme court under RSA 507:18, the court shall award costs and reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees to the prevailing party. This section does not apply to actions by or against the state, other governmental entities, or public officials acting in their official capacity or under color of law.

507:20 Expedited Civil Actions. The supreme court shall adopt rules to promote the prompt, efficient, and cost-effective resolution of civil actions. These rules shall apply to civil actions in superior courts and the circuit courts in which the amount in controversy, inclusive of all claims for damages of any kind, whether actual or exemplary, a penalty, attorney’s fees, expenses, costs, interest, or any other type of damage of any kind, does not exceed $100,000. The rules shall address the need for lowering discovery costs in these actions and the procedure for ensuring that these actions will be expedited in the civil justice system. The supreme court shall not adopt rules under this section that conflict with a statute.

507:21 Appeal of Controlling Question of Law.

I. On a party’s motion or on its own initiative, a trial court in a civil action may, by written order, permit an appeal from an order that is not otherwise appealable if:

(a) The order to be appealed involves a controlling question of law as to which there is a substantial ground for difference of opinion; and

(b) An immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.

II. Paragraph I shall not apply to an action which is under the jurisdiction of the judicial branch family division.

III. An appeal under paragraph I shall not stay proceedings in the trial court unless:

(a) The parties agree to a stay; or

(b) The trial or the supreme court orders a stay of the proceedings pending appeal.

507:22 Settlement Offers; Allocation of Litigation Costs.

I. In this section:

(a) “Litigation costs” means money actually spent and obligations actually incurred that are directly related to the action in which a settlement offer as defined in subparagraph (b) is made. The term includes:

(1) Court costs;

(2) Reasonable deposition costs;

(3) Reasonable fees for not more than 2 testifying expert witnesses; and

(4) Reasonable attorney’s fees.

(b) “Settlement offer” means an offer to settle or compromise a claim made in compliance with paragraph V.

II. This section shall not apply to:

(a) A class action;

(b) A shareholder’s derivative action;

(c) An action by or against a governmental unit;

(d) An action under the jurisdiction of the judicial branch family division;

(e) An action to collect workers’ compensation benefits; or

(f) An action filed in a small claims court.

III. This section shall not limit or affect the ability of any person to:

(a) Make an offer to settle or compromise a claim that does not comply with this section; or

(b) Offer to settle or compromise a claim in an action to which this section does not apply.

IV. An offer to settle or compromise that does not comply with this section or an offer to settle or compromise made in an action to which this chapter does not apply shall not entitle any party to recover litigation costs under this section.

V.(a) A settlement offer shall:

(1) Be in writing;

(2) State that it is made under this chapter;

(3) State the terms by which the claims may be settled;

(4) State a deadline by which the settlement offer must be accepted; and

(5) Be served on all parties to whom the settlement offer is made.

(b) The parties are not required to file a settlement offer with the court.

VI. The litigation costs that may be awarded under this section to any party shall not be greater than the total amount that the claimant recovers or would recover before adding an award of litigation costs under this section in favor of the claimant or subtracting as an offset an award of litigation costs under this section in favor of the defendant.

2 Applicability. This act shall apply to civil actions commenced on or after January 1, 2013.

3 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2013.

Links

HB1459 at GenCourtMobile

Action Dates

Date Body Type

Bill Text Revisions

HB1459 Revision: 21411 Date: Dec. 14, 2011, midnight

Docket