Unfortunately, the long-standing rule in North Carolina is that, unless a statute provides otherwise, the parties to litigation are responsible for their own attorneys' fees.
The good news is that there are some statutes that allow for the recovery of attorneys' fees in North Carolina. See the list below. Each statute must be read carefully to ensure that all conditions have been met.
Unfortunately, many of the statutes below make the award of attorneys’ fees discretionary. This means that even though a judge is allowed to award attorneys’ fees under the statute, the judge may still decide not to award attorneys’ fees. Whether the judge decides to award attorney fees' will depend on the facts of the case.
Common North Carolina Statutes that Allow for the Recovery of Attorneys' Fees
- N.C. Gen. Stat. § 6-21.1 (Certain Personal Injury and Property Damage Claims with Less than $25,000 in Damages). Link: http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_6/GS_6-21.1.html
- N.C. Gen. Stat. 6-21.6 (Reciprocal Attorneys' Fee Provision in Business Contracts). Link: http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_6/GS_6-21.6.html
- N.C. Gen. Stat. 6-21.2 (Applies to Certain Loan and Finance Agreements). Link: http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_6/GS_6-21.2.html
- N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75-16.1 (NC Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act). Link: http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_75/GS_75-16.1.html
- N.C. Gen. Stat. § 47C-4-117 (Violations of North Carolina Condominium Act). Link: http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/BySection/Chapter_47C/GS_47C-4-117.pdf
- N.C. Gen. Stat. § 6-19.1 (Actions Appealing or Defending against State Agency Action). Link: http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_6/GS_6-19.1.html
The list of statutes above is intended to cover the statutory grounds for attorneys' fees that are most commonly applied. It is not an exhaustive list. To speak to an experienced attorney about your case and your ability to recover attorneys' fees, call 919-719-3908.