The Law Office of Kurt H King

February 9, 2010

Recovering Attorney Fees in Missouri Courts

Filed under: Litigation — kurthking @ 5:11 pm
Tags: ,

How to get your opponent to pay your attorney fees under Missouri law in some instances–something that rarely happens as Missouri generally follows the American rule that each side pay their own attorney fees?

But it can happen if a statute or contract provision gives the prevailing party the right to recover attorney fees from the “losing party.”

A recent Missouri court of appeals case discusses the Private Prompt Payment Act (PPPA), section 431.180, RSMo 2010.  That law gives a court or abitrator the DISCRETION to award attorney fees when a person/entity fails to make all the scheduled payments under a contract for private design or construction work after August 28, 1995.  In other words, the court or arbitrator MAY award attorney fees and interest to the winning/prevailing party in such a payment dispute.

Note that 431.180 reads that it does NOT apply to “contracts for private construction work for the building, improvement, repair or remodeling of OWNER-OCCUPIED RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY OF FOUR UNITS OR LESS.”

IMPORTANT:  Remember to plead a count in your petition for payment on the contract setting out your claim for recovery of attorney fees and interest under Missouri’s PPPA.  The recent Missouri case of Lucas Stucco & EIFS Design v. Landau (Eastern District, 2/2/2010), teaches us that if you don’t so set out your claim for attorney fees and interest under the PPPA, then you are unlikely to be awarded any under that law.

Kurt H. King
Law Office of Kurt H. King
20 E. Franklin
Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068

Bankruptcy, Child Custody and Support, Divorce and Modification, Family Law
Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation

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