Understanding Breach of Contract Attorney Fees

Recovering Attorney’s Fees in Breach of Contract Cases

In certain situations, recovering attorney’s fees in a breach of contract case is possible. This can happen when:

  • The contract specifically states that the losing party is responsible for the other party’s attorney’s fees.
  • State statutes automatically award attorney’s fees to the winning party.

Lawsuit Costs

When it comes to breach of contract lawsuits in Los Angeles, California, the following costs are typically involved:

  • Complaint filing fee: $320
  • Motion filing fee: $40
  • Depositions fee: $1,000 to $2,000 per day
  • Copying fees: $200 or more
  • Expert witness fee: $200 to $400 per hour
  • Appeal filing fee: $700
  • Potential fees upon losing the case

The complaint filing fee is paid to the court at the beginning of the lawsuit. The defendant must also pay this fee upon their first court appearance.

For filing a motion, individuals often need to hire a third-party lawyer, which costs an additional $50 to $100 per motion. In many cases, multiple motions are filed throughout the lawsuit.

To save money on depositions, it is sometimes possible to interview witnesses over a casual meeting, like over coffee or lunch. However, a written declaration or affidavit from the witness must be obtained at that time. While an informal process is an option, it is more common to officially depose the witness through a subpoena and arrange a meeting with the witness, defendant, and their respective attorneys. A court reporter must also be present.

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Deposition fees can accumulate due to additional costs. For instance, a court reporter typically costs around $1,000 or more per day. Additionally, a videographer and/or interpreter may need to be hired at an extra cost.

If the defendant possesses documents that the plaintiff needs, a bonded copy shop may be necessary to set up on-site copiers. The setup fee is usually around $200, with an additional charge of 10 to 40 cents per copy.

In many lawsuits, an expert witness may be required to explain complex topics that are not easily understood by the average person. The cost of these testimonies can range from $200 to $400 per hour. Examples of expert witnesses include engineers, economists, human resource experts, psychiatrists, and accident reconstructionists.

When filing an appeal, the person initiating the appeal may need to request a record for appeal from the court clerk, which can cost a few hundred dollars. Additionally, in some cases, a written transcript of a previous hearing may be necessary, with a potential cost of up to $1,000.

Often, in addition to their own costs, an individual may be responsible for the opponent’s attorney’s fees. In certain circumstances, the court can even require them to pay for the opposing party’s lawyers. Occasionally, the plaintiff’s lawyer may cover some or all of the lawsuit’s costs. However, if the plaintiff wins, the lawyer will receive a percentage of the recovery. If the case is minor or trivial, it is unlikely that a lawyer will allocate their resources to pursue the lawsuit.

Attorney’s Fees in Breach of Contract Cases

According to section 1717 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, the winning party of a breach of contract lawsuit can file a motion with the court to be awarded attorney’s fees.

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In the case of Monster, LLC vs. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, the court highlighted that the decision on whether attorney’s fees should be considered damages to the winning party in a breach of contract lawsuit is ultimately determined by the jury.

In 2008, Monster, LLC and its founder, Noel Lee, entered into a licensing agreement with Jimmy Lovine and Dr. Dre for the production and sale of Beats By Dre headphones. Later, Lovine and Dre established Beats Electronics and signed a new agreement with Monster, LLC, which replaced the initial one. As per this new agreement, Beats Electronics had the right to terminate the licensing agreement if a third party purchased more than 50 percent of the company.

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