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Greater attorney fee awards (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Mike Cook
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A new law could help people fight the state.

Sponsored by Rep. Joe Mullery (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Don Betzold (DFL-Fridley), it eliminates a per-hour cap on an award of attorney’s or agents fees in a civil action or contested case where the state is a party. The law takes effect Aug. 1, 2009.

Under current law when a court finds the state is not justified in bringing forth an action, the defendant is entitled to an award of attorney fees and expenses. However, the $125 hourly cap, established in 1986, is still in statute.

Supporters said it is hard to get good legal representation at that limited price.

The law will allow a judge to issue a reasonable award based on the prevailing market rate for the kind and quality of service received by the defense.


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