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Mader v. Stephenson

    Brief Fact Summary. A party requested attorney fees, travel expenses and costs as part of a judgment.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Absent statutory authority, or contractual agreement, neither attorney fees nor travel expenses are recoverable by a party.  Additionally, "there is no statutory provision for recovery of travel expenses or time for preparation of a lawsuit. Any recovery for costs is purely statutory."

    Facts. The Plaintiffs-Appellants, Maider and others (the "Plaintiffs"), were awarded a judgment against the Defendant-Appellee, Stephenson (the "Defendant"), for $1000 with interest from October 11, 1973, the date of the contract.  The total amount of interest was $143.86.  Thus, the total award was $1143.86.  The Plaintiffs were not awarded certain amounts of attorneys' fees, air transportation costs and telephone calls that they requested.  The Plaintiff specified that these expenses were undertaken in the "pursuit of justice." The Plaintiffs appealed.

    Issue. Should attorney's fees, travel expenses or costs be recoverable by the Plaintiffs?

    Held. Absent statutory authority, or contractual agreement, neither attorney fees nor travel expenses are recoverable by a party.  Additionally, "there is no statutory provision for recovery of travel expenses or time for preparation of a lawsuit. Any recovery for costs is purely statutory."

    Discussion. This case offers a simple example of the various components of a damage award.


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