Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Summary 2008 WY 128

Summary of Decision issued October 22, 2008

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: Stafford v. JHL, Inc.

Citation: 2008 WY 128

Docket Number: S-07-0285

Appeal from the District Court of Teton County, the Honorable Nancy J. Guthrie, Judge.

Representing Appellant: John H. Robinson of Jamieson & Robinson, LLC, Casper, Wyoming; Timothy W. Miller, Casper, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Glen W. Myers of Moore Myers & Garland, LLC, Jackson, Wyoming.

Facts/Discussion: A breach of contract claim between Appellant Stafford and JHL was tried before a jury. Subsequently, Stafford sought an award for attorney’s fees pursuant to a contract provision.

Inadequacy of Itemization of Attorneys’ Fees: Wyoming follows the American Rule which states that each party is responsible for his own attorney’s fees in the absence of an express contractual or statutory provision to the contrary. Even in the event of a valid contractual provision for attorney’s fees, the Court has clearly stated that a trial court has the discretion to exercise its equitable control to allow only such sum as is reasonable or the court may properly disallow attorney’s fees altogether on the basis that such recovery would be inequitable. The record showed that the attorneys’ fees were meticulously recorded but that Stafford failed to sufficiently itemize the fees to show which were properly recoverable and which were not. Additionally, the district court found that both parties came to the court having breached the contract. Accordingly, the court did not abuse its discretion in denying the award of attorneys’ fees on equitable grounds. The claim for appellate attorneys’ fees was also denied. The Court stated it would be inconsistent to award appellate fees after finding no abuse of discretion in the district court’s denial of attorneys’’ fees.

Holding: The Court affirmed the district court’s denial of attorneys' fees and denied any attorneys’ fees associated with the appeal.


District Judge Fenn delivered the decision.

Link: .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

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