If you are the defendant in a civil case and win, can you counter-sue the plaintiff for fees that you incurred in defending against the suit?

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If you are the defendant in a civil case and win, can you counter-sue the plaintiff for fees that you incurred in defending against the suit?

We have an issue with a neighbor over an old right-of-way that has not been used in 35+yrs. The small parcel the plaintiff owns is not land-locked from her own property. It looks like plaintiff is not willing to settle on a compromise (we offered 2 options already). We were told that the legal fees and survey fees to go to court will be approx $10k-$15k. The total of our fees incurred due to the plaintiff will be what I am wondering if I could possibly recover?

Asked on March 9, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The winner of a lawsuit recovers costs and fees from the loser.  This would not be a separate lawsuit to recover costs and fees, but would be included in language in documents filed with the court in the course of litigation.  For example, the prayer for relief would include language seeking costs incurred herein by the party.  The plaintiff's complaint would include this language and the defendant's answer to the complaint would also include this language.  You could also file documents setting forth your costs, fees, expenses in a memorandum asking the court to award you these amounts (assuming you won the lawsuit). 


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