BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation that would block an Idaho Supreme Court decision on when attorney fees are imposed cleared the House floor on Monday.
In September, the state's highest court announced a split decision for a new standard on settling attorney fees in civil cases: Judges should award attorney fees "when justice so requires." This decision has caused outrage among the state's legal community because they fear it would lead to a so-called loser pay system, meaning the losing side would have to pay for other side's attorney's fees.
The split 3-2 court decision is scheduled to go into effect March 1, leaving lawmakers enough time to change the state law during this year's legislative session.
Rep. Lynn Luker, a Republican from Boise, is backing legislation that would allow attorney fees to be awarded only if the courts deem the case frivolous, without legal basis, or unreasonable — which had been the previous standard for nearly 30 years until the court's surprise decision.