Attorney Fees

Oklahoma unintentionally adopts loser-pays system for attorney fees in civil cases

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Oklahoma has adopted a loser-pays system for attorney fees and costs in civil cases, but not intentionally.

Gov. Mary Fallin recently signed the bill into law, report the Tulsa World, NewsOK and KFOR-TV of Oklahoma City.

The loser-pays requirement was an amendment to a bill giving victims of child sexual assault additional time to sue. The amendment, written by state Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, was intended to apply only to civil cases involving child sex-abuse.

But the amendment had a broader impact, according to the Senate author of the bill, state Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City. “Upon a closer reading of the amendment, it seems evident that it makes all civil cases … loser pays,” Holt told the World. “But nobody caught that.”

Michael McNutt, a spokesman for Fallin, said she notified the bill’s authors “about the broadness of the language” and suggested lawmakers correct it before the law takes effect on Nov. 1, the World reported.

Hat tip to Above the Law.

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