Legal-Ease: Recovering attorneys’ fees

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Our legal system’s so-called “American Rule” holds that attorneys’ fees for the winning party in a lawsuit are not paid by the losing party, except in a few specific instances.

The exceptions to the American Rule usually involve provisions or laws that specifically mention attorneys’ fees. A contract may include a stipulation for paying a winning party’s attorney’s fees if a suit ever arises. Legislation can also be made that involve the losing party paying such costs in certain instances. If an individual’s insurance company acts in bad faith and is successfully sued by that policyholder, that can also include payment of legal fees. Frivolous lawsuits and filings can cause a judge to order the filer to pay the fees, as well.

Anyone who has been involved in a civil lawsuit knows that it is expensive to fight in court. In addition to court costs and expenses related to the notices and documents that are filed, attorneys’ fees also usually add up quickly.

When someone is aggrieved and is forced to litigate (the legal term for resolving a dispute in the courts), the person usually wants to be put in the same place financially that that person was in prior to the incident or experience. The law is designed to provide that justice, but it is subject to the transaction costs of participating in the system. In other words, the attorneys’ fees and other court costs are almost always not recoverable by the winning person.

Read more about recovering attorneys’ fees in Lee’s article in the Lima News, “Legal-Ease: Recovering attorneys’ fees.”

Source:,  “Legal-Ease: Recovering attorneys’ fees” by Lee R. Schroeder, December 10, 2016

Posted in Civil Lawsuits, General Law, Hiring an Attorney, In the Courtroom and tagged , , , , , , , .