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The Taxing Of Attorney Fees In A Civil Lawsuit – Part 1

In Alaska, a prevailing party will generally be awarded part of their attorney’s fees in civil litigation.  This award of attorney’s fees is usually governed by Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 82.  Rule 82 provides a method to compute a reasonable amount of an attorney fees award based upon the amount of principal plus interest recovered at trial.  Where money damages are awarded, the Rule 82 formulas[1] are as follows:

 

Amount of Judgment

(including pre-judgment interest)

Contested With Trial Contested Without Trial Non-Contested
First $ 25,000 20% 18% 10%
Next $ 75,000 10% 8% 3%
Next $400,000 10% 6% 2%
Over $500,000 10% 2% 1%

 

In cases where the prevailing party does not recover a money judgment (e.g., when the Defendant wins), the Rule 82 award is based upon a percentage of the party’s “reasonable actual attorney’s fees” which were necessarily incurred.  For a contested case that goes to trial, the award is based on 30% of the reasonable actual attorney’s fees and 20% for a case resolved prior to trial.  While these formulas are applied to set a presumptively reasonable award, the court may vary from the presumptive award based upon factors identified in the rule.

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[1] The text of the civil rules is available at the Alaska Court System web page, https://courts.alaska.gov/home.htm, under LEGAL RESOURCES, Court Rules, Civil Procedure.

 

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