Print Friendly SENATE BILL NO. 1154 – Civil actions, dollar amt, atty fee
SENATE BILL NO. 1154
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S1154................................................by JUDICIARY AND RULES
CIVIL ACTIONS - Amends existing law relating to attorney's fees in civil
actions to increase the maximum dollar amount pleaded or claimed for
purposes of allowed costs.
02/13 Senate intro - 1st rdg - to printing
02/14 Rpt prt - to Jud
]]]] LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ]]]]
Fifty-ninth Legislature First Regular Session - 2007
IN THE SENATE
SENATE BILL NO. 1154
BY JUDICIARY AND RULES COMMITTEE
1 AN ACT
2 RELATING TO ATTORNEY'S FEES IN CIVIL ACTIONS; AMENDING SECTION 12-120, IDAHO
3 CODE, TO INCREASE THE MAXIMUM DOLLAR AMOUNT PLEADED OR CLAIMED FOR PUR-
4 POSES OF ALLOWED COSTS.
5 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
6 SECTION 1. That Section 12-120, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby
7 amended to read as follows:
8 12-120. ATTORNEY'S FEES IN CIVIL ACTIONS. (1) Except as provided in sub-
9 sections (3) and (4) of this section, in any action where the amount pleaded
10 is twenty-five fifty thousand dollars ($ 250,000) or less, there shall be taxed
11 and allowed to the prevailing party, as part of the costs of the action, a
12 reasonable amount to be fixed by the court as attorney's fees. For the plain-
13 tiff to be awarded attorney's fees, for the prosecution of the action, written
14 demand for the payment of such claim must have been made on the defendant not
15 less than ten (10) days before the commencement of the action; provided, that
16 no attorney's fees shall be allowed to the plaintiff if the court finds that
17 the defendant tendered to the plaintiff, prior to the commencement of the
18 action, an amount at least equal to ninety-five percent (95%) of the amount
19 awarded to the plaintiff.
20 (2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall also apply to
21 any counterclaims, cross-claims or third party claims which may be filed after
22 the initiation of the original action. Except that a ten (10) day written
23 demand letter shall not be required in the case of a counterclaim.
24 (3) In any civil action to recover on an open account, account stated,
25 note, bill, negotiable instrument, guaranty, or contract relating to the pur-
26 chase or sale of goods, wares, merchandise, or services and in any commercial
27 transaction unless otherwise provided by law, the prevailing party shall be
28 allowed a reasonable attorney's fee to be set by the court, to be taxed and
29 collected as costs.
30 The term "commercial transaction" is defined to mean all transactions
31 except transactions for personal or household purposes. The term "party" is
32 defined to mean any person, partnership, corporation, association, private
33 organization, the state of Idaho or political subdivision thereof.
34 (4) In actions for personal injury, where the amount of plaintiff's claim
35 for damages does not exceed twenty-five fifty thousand dollars ($ 250,000),
36 there shall be taxed and allowed to the claimant, as part of the costs of the
37 action, a reasonable amount to be fixed by the court as attorney's fees. For
38 the plaintiff to be awarded attorney's fees for the prosecution of the action,
39 written demand for payment of the claim and a statement of claim must have
40 been served on the defendant's insurer, if known, or if there is no known
41 insurer, then on the defendant, not less than sixty (60) days before the com-
42 mencement of the action; provided that no attorney's fees shall be allowed to
43 the plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant tendered to the plaintiff,
1 prior to the commencement of the action, an amount at least equal to ninety
2 percent (90%) of the amount awarded to the plaintiff.
3 The term "statement of claim" shall mean a written statement signed by the
4 plaintiff's attorney, or if no attorney, by the plaintiff which includes:
5 (a) An itemized statement of each and every item of damage claimed by the
6 plaintiff including the amount claimed for general damages and the follow-
7 ing items of special damages: (i) medical bills incurred up to the date
8 of the plaintiff's demand; (ii) a good faith estimate of future medical
9 bills; (iii) lost income incurred up to the date of the plaintiff's
10 demand; (iv) a good faith estimate of future loss of income; and (v) prop-
11 erty damage for which the plaintiff has not been paid.
12 (b) Legible copies of all medical records, bills and other documentation
13 pertinent to the plaintiff's alleged damages.
14 If the plaintiff includes in the complaint filed to commence the action,
15 or in evidence offered at trial, a different alleged injury or a significant
16 new item of damage not set forth in the statement of claim, the plaintiff
17 shall be deemed to have waived any entitlement to attorney's fees under this
19 (5) In all instances where a party is entitled to reasonable attorney's
20 fees and costs under subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4) of this section, such
21 party shall also be entitled to reasonable postjudgment attorney's fees and
22 costs incurred in attempting to collect on the judgment. Such attorney's fees
23 and costs shall be set by the court following the filing of a memorandum of
24 attorney's fees and costs with notice to all parties and hearing.
25 (6) In any small claims case resulting in entry of a money judgment or
26 judgment for recovery of specific property, the party in whose favor the judg-
27 ment is entered shall be entitled to reasonable postjudgment attorney's fees
28 and costs incurred in attempting to collect on the judgment. Such attorney's
29 fees and costs shall be set by the court following the filing of a memorandum
30 of attorney's fees and costs with notice to all parties and an opportunity for
31 hearing. The amount of such attorney's fees shall be determined by the court
32 after consideration of the factors set out in rule 54(e)(3) of the Idaho rules
33 of civil procedure, or any future rule that the supreme court of the state of
34 Idaho may promulgate, but the court shall not base its determination of such
35 fees upon any contingent fees arrangement between attorney and client, or any
36 arrangement setting such fees as a percentage of the judgment or the amount
37 recovered. In no event shall postjudgment attorney's fees exceed the principal
38 amount of the judgment or value of property recovered.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
This legislation seeks to increase the amount pleaded or claimed
for purposes of allowed costs. If enacted, this expeditious and
less expensive alternative to typical litigation would benefit a
greater percentage of citizens and assist the management of court
resources. The amendments are supported by Consumer Price Index
There is no negative impact to the state General Fund.
Name: Senator Tim Corder
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE S 1154