American Rule

News & Analysis as of

TCPA Connect - August 2016

FCC Issues Report and Order on Budget Act Exemptions - On August 11, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Report and Order implementing Section 301 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which amended the...more

The Supreme Court Clarifies Standard For Attorney Fee Awards In Copyright Cases

Copyright infringement litigation has been on the rise in recent years, particularly in the Central District of California, with the apparel industry feeling the brunt of this uptick. In a typical case, a plaintiff alleges...more

Texas Court of Appeals: Parties Cannot Recover Statutory Attorney's Fees from an LLC for Breach of Contract Claims

A recent decision from the Texas Court of Appeals in Houston closes the door to the recovery of attorney's fees from limited liability companies under Chapter 38 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, one of the few...more

Texas appeals court: LLCs and partnerships are not "corporations" against which attorneys' fees can be awarded

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Alta Mesa Holdings, L.P. v. Ives, No. 14–14–00739–CV, 2016 WL 1534007 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Apr. 14, 2016) has reversed an award of attorneys’ fees granted by a trial court...more

Recovering Attorney's Fees for Breach of Contract Under Texas Law Recent Cases Say No!

In the energy sector, many contracts contain Texas choice of law provisions, or are performed in Texas, which means that Texas law probably applies. The conventional wisdom in Texas is that a prevailing party can recover its...more

ASARCO’s Revenge: Do Estate Professionals Now Have to Charge the Same Fees to an Estate or Committee that They Would Charge a...

Either from our prior posts, or from the great posts from Stone and Baxter’s Plan Proponent blog or from Bracewell’s Basis Points blog, we all know the Supreme Court’s holding in ASARCO: a strict interpretation of Section...more

Is the American Rule Dead in New Jersey?

Ok, so maybe "dead" is a bit hyperbolic, but the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision in Innes v. Marzano-Lesnevich, No. 074291, ___ N.J. _____ (N.J. Apr. 26, 2016) has raised serious questions about just how far the New...more

Delaware Bankruptcy Court Holds, Twice: “ASARCO is Here to Stay” (But Your Authors Have Hatched Another Plan; Read Below!)

You may recall the holding and analysis of ASARCO from Jay’s previous post, here. At bottom, ASARCO followed a strict interpretation of Section 330(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, holding that professionals are allowed to charge...more

Delaware Bankruptcy Judge Rejects Effort to Circumvent Supreme Court’s Asarco Decision

The Supreme Court’s decision last term in Baker Botts v. Asarco, in which the Court ruled that professionals that are paid from a debtor’s bankruptcy estate cannot be compensated for time spent defending their fee...more

Delaware Bankruptcy Courts Foreclose Creative Attempts to Distinguish ASARCO

On June 15, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in the case of Baker Botts L.L.P. v. ASARCO LLC, 135 S. Ct. 2158 (2015), denying compensation to two law firms for the fees they incurred in defending objections to...more

Court Of Chancery Reverses Director Resignation

In this unusual case, the Court of Chancery has reinstated a director who was tricked into resigning. The opinion has a good discussion of how directors may resign and when their resignation is not effective....more

North Carolina Court Rules Class Action Settlements Can Award Attorneys’ Fees, but Note of Caution to Local Counsel

The North Carolina Court of Appeals considered for the first time whether it is legal in a class action settlement agreement for one party to agree to pay the other’s attorneys’ fees and expenses. The court concluded that it...more

Can I Get My Legal Fees Back for Having to Defend This Case?

One of the most common questions I get from my clients is whether they can recover their legal expenses for having to defend a meritless case. The short answer is that in most cases, no. That may seem unfair, especially...more

Court Of Appeals Affirms Business Court Award Of $1 Million In Fees To Class Counsel

It seems like forever ago that the then venerable North Carolina institution, Wachovia Bank, failed and was acquired by Wells Fargo. (This was actually seven years ago). But just last week came what might be the final...more

Delaware Legislature Rejects Fee-Shifting Bylaws for Stock Corporations

On June 24, Delaware’s Governor signed Senate Bill No. 75 into law and closed the door on the tantalizing prospect of fee shifting (“loser pays”) bylaws for Delaware stock corporations. The full text of the bill can be read...more

The “American Rule” Prevails: The Supreme Court denies certain fees in bankruptcy cases

In 2005, ASARCO LLC, a copper mining, smelting and refining company, was in financial trouble and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Relying on §327(a) and §1107(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, ASARCO retained two law firms to...more

U.S. Supreme Court: Attorney’s Fees Provisions Must be Strictly Construed

“Our basic point of reference when considering the award of attorney’s fees is the bedrock principle known as the American Rule: Each litigant pays his own attorney’s fees, win or lose, unless a statute or contract provides...more

Contractual Provisions Can Aid in the Recovery of Attorney’s Fees, But Consider the Unintended Consequences

Although the “American Rule” provides that each side pay its own attorneys’ fees, if your dispute arises from a contractual relationship, a “prevailing party” provision or indemnification clause may obligate one of the...more

Pay to Play: §327(a) Professionals Pay their Own Defense Costs in Litigation Challenging Fee Applications

On June 15, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made clear that attorneys and other professionals hired under §327(a) of the Bankruptcy Code are not entitled to fees for their time spent litigating a §330(a)(1) fee...more

Client Alert: Hurts So Good - US Supreme Court Rejects Attorneys Fees in Chapter 11

On June 15, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that a law firm could not recover fees it incurred in defending its own fee application. THE ASARCO CASE - The case involved the copper company ASARCO LLC that filed...more

Delaware House of Representatives Bars Fee-Shifting Provisions but Approves Forum-Selection

There has been considerable interest over the last year about whether a fee-shifting provision in the charter or bylaws of a Delaware corporation is enforceable. On Thursday, June 11, 2015, the Delaware House of...more

Baker Botts v. Asarco: The Supreme Court Shows Again That It Really Doesn’t Understand Corporate Bankruptcy Cases

The Supreme Court has not handled its recent major bankruptcy decisions well. The jurisdictional confusion engendered by its 2011 decision in Stern v. Marshall was only partially clarified by this term’s opinion in Wellness...more

Supreme Court Update: Kerry V. Din (13-1402), Mata V. Lynch (14-185) And Baker Botts V. Asarco (14-103)

The Court took care of some additional throat-clearing on Monday, handing down three decisions: Kerry v. Din (13-1402), holding that no additional process was due a U.S. citizen whose husband's visa application was denied;...more

Supreme Court Decides Baker Botts L.L.P. v. ASARCO LLC

On June 15, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Baker Botts L.L.P. v. ASARCO LLC, No. 14-103, holding that § 330(a)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code does not permit bankruptcy courts to award fees that § 327(a) professionals incur...more

Appealing a Trademark Registration Refusal? Win or Lose, You May Have to Pay the USPTO’s Legal Fees

The federal Trademark Act (the Lanham Act) instructs that if an unsuccessful trademark applicant appeals a refusal to register in federal district court, the applicant must name the Director of the U.S. Patent & Trademark...more

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