House Bill No. 553

Introduced By stovall, debruycker, orr, tash, krenzler, beaudry, estrada, molnar, kasten, sliter, devaney, lawson, mcgee, mercer, knox, jore, jenkins, holland, clark, rehbein, curtiss, zook, emerson, baer, gage, grinde, keating

A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act providing that a party in certain actions and proceedings must be awarded reasonable attorney fees on the issues on which the party prevailed; amending sections 25-10-101 and 25-10-302, MCA; repealing sections 25-10-102, 25-10-106, and 25-10-303, MCA; and providing an applicability date."

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:

Section 1.  Section 25-10-101, MCA, is amended to read:

"25-10-101.   When costs allowed, of course, to plaintiff and reasonable attorney fees must be awarded to prevailing party. (1) Costs are allowed, of course, and REASONABLE attorney fees must be awarded to the plaintiff upon a judgment in his favor prevailing party IN THE TRIAL OR OTHER INITIAL PROCEEDING AND TO THE PREVAILING PARTY IN ANY APPEAL in the following cases:

(1)(a)  in an action for the recovery of real property or damages thereto to real property;

(2)(b)  in an action to recover the possession of personal property where when the value of the property exceeds $50 $200; such. The value shall must be determined by the jury, court, or referee by whom the action is tried;.

(3)(c)  in an action for the recovery of money or damages, exclusive of interest, when the plaintiff seeks or recovers over $50 $200;

(4)(d)  in a special proceeding;

(5)(e)  in an action which that involves:

(i) the title or possession or right of possession of real estate; or

(ii) the legality of any tax, impost, assessment, toll, or municipal fine; or

(iii) quo warranto proceedings;

(6)(f)  in an action to foreclose a lien or pledge, to prevent or abate a nuisance, or for an injunction; or

(7)(g)  in an action for property damage arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle if he is entitled to attorney's fees under 25-10-303.

(2) A party prevailing on some but not all of the matters or issues in dispute must be awarded costs and reasonable attorney fees relating to the matters or issues upon which the party prevailed, as determined by the court."

Section 2.  Section 25-10-302, MCA, is amended to read:

"25-10-302.   Inclusion of attorney's attorney fees in bill of costs. The attorney's attorney fees mentioned in 30-9-511, 71-1-233, and 71-3-124, and 25-10-303 need not be included in the cost bill if they are made a part of the judgment."

NEW SECTION. Section 3.  Repealer. Sections 25-10-102, 25-10-106, and 25-10-303, MCA, are repealed.

NEW SECTION. Section 4.  Applicability. [This act] applies to actions and proceedings filed after October 1, 1997.