No Attorney's Fees Allowed in Commercial Litigation Case
A cleaning service sued an apartment management company for fees
owed under a contract that provided the defendant was responsible to
the plaintiff for "all collection costs." An appeals court in Illinois
a few weeks ago held that this language did NOT entitle the cleaning
service to attorney's fees. Negro Nest LLC v. Mid-Northern Management
Illinois follows the "American Rule" in litigation, meaning that each
party pays its own lawyer's fees. One exception is when the
statute involved - such as in an employment discrimination case - shifts the
duty to pay the lawyer to the employer if the plaintiff wins.
Another exception, applicable in cases like Negro Nest, is a contract
provision clearly shifting the fees to the defendant.
The court held the attorney's fees provisions should be strictly construed,
and that "responsible for all collection costs" was too imprecise to be
construed as requiring Mid-Northern to cover Negro's fees.