Thursday, February 28, 2013

Attorneys' fees in Tortious Interference Suits

Can attorneys’ fees be recovered on a claim for tortious interference?

Generally in current litigation, attorneys’ fees are not recoverable on tort claims and are typically only recoverable if provided for by statute or in a contract.  Also generally, unless provided for by statute or by contract of the parties, attorneys’ fees incurred by a party in older litigation are not recoverable against the present adversary in new, current litigation.  However, at least one Texas appellate court has recognized an equitable exception to this general rule for lawsuits based on tortious interference.  See Texas Beef Cattle Co. v. Green, 883 S.W.2d 415, 430 (Tex. App.  – Beaumont 1994) rev'd on other grounds, 921 S.W.2d 203 (Tex. 1996).  In this case, the Beaumont court of appeals held that necessary and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs even though expended and incurred in previous litigation can be recovered as proper damages in a later suit based on tortious interference of contract if the natural and proximate results and consequences of prior wrongful acts had been to involve the plaintiff in litigation with and against third parties and other parties.

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