Author: Vivian S. Chu
Anyone who has ever engaged the services of an attorney knows that she will generally end up footing the legal bills, regardless of whether she wins or loses. This is known as the “American rule.” There are a few exceptions whereby a court, unless forbidden by statute, has the inherent power to order the losing party to a lawsuit to pay the winning party?s attorneys? fees. Outside these exceptions, there are numerous fee-shifting statutes, i.e., statutory exceptions to the American rule, that Congress has enacted to both encourage and discourage lawsuits for public policy reasons.