Feb 6, 2015

Settlement Offers and Attorney's Fees

Arizona courts are extremely backlogged with cases and so they have created many rules of civil procedure attempting to persuade parties to settle their cases without having to go to trial. One such rule is A.R.S. § 12-341, it states:
The successful party to a civil action shall recover from his adversary all costs expended or incurred therein unless otherwise provided by law.
This means that under the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure if you lose your case you must reimburse the opposing party for the cost of their attorney and court costs. The risk of paying your own attorney and also the other attorney is a huge risk that motivates many people to settle their case.

A.R.S. § 12-341.01(A) states:
If a written settlement offer is rejected and the judgment finally obtained is equal to or more favorable to the offer...the offeror is deemed to be the successful party from the date of the offer and the court may award the successful party reasonable attorney fees. 
This means that if the opposing party provides you a written settlement offer of $10,000 and you reject it. If you end up winning less than $10,000 from the opposing party you will have to pay for their attorney's fees!

These are just a few example of Arizona statutes and rules designed to help facilitate settlements instead of protracted litigation.