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Law Offices of Jonathan M. Cooper

Still Have to Pay Those Legal Bills: Breach of Contract Claims in NY

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Hurricane Sandy left a path of destruction that stranded thousands of New York residents without power. Unfortunately, these power outages lasted for many days, even weeks in some cases. Two residents of Long Island have now filed a New York breach of contract action against their local power providers as a result. The lawsuit against such sizeable organizations will likely create substantial legal bills even if they do prevail. New York contract law may prohibit the plaintiffs in this suit, however, from having these legal fees paid by the power providers.

Under the American justice system, each party is expected to bear its own costs and legal fees during litigation. This can sometimes prohibit parties from filing an action out of fear or inability to pay legal fees. In the recent filing against Long Island Power Authority and National Grid, the plaintiffs had to know that their actions would result in high attorney fees. Can these individuals seek to have their fees paid by the power providers? Only if either of two situations is met:

  1. The fees requested to be paid by the defendants are listed under the statutory fees that New York parties are entitled to recover. Unfortunately, the recovery amount is limited to less than $1,500.
  2. The parties previously agreed to pay legal fees in their contract. It is highly unlikely that the agreements between the power providers and their customers contain a provision that makes the provider pay the legal expenses of a customer in the event of a lawsuit.

If you are considering bringing a breach of contract action in New York but are concerned about legal fees, contact an experienced New York business litigation lawyer today for more information. Call our office at (888) 497-3410 for a free consultation.

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