A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT TO ALLOW PRESIDING JUDGES IN CIVIL ACTIONS TO AWARD COSTS OR ATTORNEYS' FEES UPON ISSUANCE OF WRITTEN FINDINGS OF FACT.
Enacts new GS 6-19.3 giving the presiding judge the discretion to award costs, reasonable attorneys' fees, or both, in any civil action. Requires that the determination to award either fees or costs be made in a written order including findings of fact detailing the basis for the award. Requires counsel of record in actions subject to the awarding of attorneys' fees to keep accurate, up to date records of the hours worked on the matter. Allows the court to decline to award fees to a prevailing defendant or to reduce the fee award, if the court finds that the defendant's costs are excessive, speculative, or not adequately document. Provides that the statute does not apply when a specific statute otherwise addresses an award of attorneys' fees, except GS 6-21.1 which applies concurrently. Makes conforming changes to GS 6-21.5 (attorney's fees in certain nonjusticable cases).
Applies to civil actions filed on or after October 1, 2013.
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