Bill Details - HB1704 (2018)

HB 1704 - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2018 SESSION

18-2657

06/01

 

HOUSE BILL 1704

 

AN ACT requiring court costs and attorneys fees to be paid to the prevailing party.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Murphy, Hills. 7

 

COMMITTEE: Judiciary

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill requires the court to award court costs and attorney fees to the prevailing party in certain civil cases.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

18-2657

06/01

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eighteen

 

AN ACT requiring court costs and attorneys fees to be paid to the prevailing party.

 

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

 

1  New Subdivision; Costs and Attorney Fees Allowed to Prevailing Party.  Amend RSA 507 by inserting after section 17 the following new subdivision:

Costs and Attorney Fees Allowed to Prevailing Party

507:18  Costs and Attorney Fees.

I.  Except as otherwise provided by law or by agreement between the parties, attorney fees shall not be awarded to a party in a civil action for personal injury, death, or property damage related to or arising out of fault.

II.  Except as otherwise provided by law, no court shall discriminate in the award of attorney fees and costs to or against a party in a civil action or appeal based on the nature of the policy or interest advocated by the party, the number of persons affected by the outcome of the case, whether a governmental entity could be expected to bring or participate in the case, the extent of the party's economic incentive to bring the case, or any combination of these factors.

III.  In a civil action or appeal concerning the establishment, protection, or enforcement of a right under the United States Constitution or the New Hampshire constitution, the court shall:

(a)  Award, subject to paragraphs IV and V, reasonable attorney fees and costs to a claimant, who, as plaintiff, counterclaimant, cross claimant, or third-party plaintiff in the action or on appeal, has prevailed in asserting the right;

(b)  Not order a claimant to pay the attorney fees of the opposing party in claims concerning constitutional rights if the claimant as plaintiff, counterclaimant, cross claimant, or third-party plaintiff in the action or appeal did not prevail in asserting the right, the action or appeal asserting the right was not frivolous, and the claimant did not have sufficient economic incentive to bring the action or appeal regardless of the constitutional claims involved.

IV.  In calculating an award of attorney fees and costs under subparagraph III(a),  the court shall:

(a)  Include in the award only that portion of the services of the claimant's attorney fees and associated costs that were devoted to claims concerning rights under the United States Constitution or the New Hampshire constitution upon which the claimant ultimately prevailed; and

(b)  Make an award only if the claimant did not have sufficient economic incentive to bring the suit, regardless of the constitutional claims involved.

V.  The court, in its discretion, may abate, in full or in part, an award of attorney fees and costs otherwise payable under paragraphs III and IV if the court finds, based upon sworn affidavits or testimony, that the full imposition of the award would inflict a substantial and undue hardship upon the party ordered to pay the fees and costs or, if the party is a public entity, upon the taxpaying constituents of the public entity.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2019.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 3, 2018 Introduced 01/03/2018 and referred to Judiciary HJ 1 P. 20
Jan. 16, 2018 Public Hearing: 01/16/2018 01:00 PM LOB 208
Feb. 21, 2018 Executive Session: 02/21/2018 LOB 208
Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate (Vote 13-0; CC)
March 6, 2018 Committee Report: Inexpedient to Legislate for 03/06/2018 (Vote 13-0; CC) HC 9 P. 27
March 6, 2018 Inexpedient to Legislate: MA VV 03/06/2018 HJ 6 P. 48

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 16, 2018 House Hearing
Feb. 21, 2018 House Exec Session
House Floor Vote
March 6, 2018 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB1704 Revision: 2213 Date: Nov. 15, 2017, 8:34 a.m.