TO ESTABLISH AS A GENERAL RULE IN CIVIL ACTIONS THAT PREVAILING DEFENDANTS BE AWARDED ATTORNEYS' FEES.
Enacts new GS 6-19.3 to direct the court to award reasonable attorneys’ fees resulting from the successful defense, as defined, of any civil action to the defendant. Requires that the counsel of record maintain an accurate record of hours worked, regardless of any fee arrangement with the client, if counsel may be awarded attorneys’ fees under the statute. Allows the court discretion in awarding attorneys’ fees under the statute. Provides that the statute will not apply when another specific statute addresses an award of attorneys’ fees; however, GS 6-21.1 (providing for attorneys’ fees in personal injury or property damage suits or in certain suits against an insurance company) applies concurrently.
Amends GS 6-21.5 to remove civil actions lacking a justiciable issue of law or fact from the list of nonjusticiable cases in which the court may award reasonable attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party.
Effective October 1, 2011, and applies to civil actions filed on or after that date.
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