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3398Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: HouseIntroduced Date: 19990128Primary Sponsor: RobinsonAll Sponsors: Robinson, Kelley, Simrill, H. Brown, Sandifer, Fleming, Easterday, McKay, Rice, Leach, D. Smith, Hamilton, Klauber, Trotter, Haskins, Harrison, Vaughn, BarrettDrafted Document Number: l:\council\bills\gjk\20180sd99.docResiding Body: SenateDate of Last Amendment: 19990406Subject: Courts, Attorneys fees; awarding of in state initiated actions, administrative proceedings; TortsHistory Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ ______________________________________ _______ ____________ ------ 20000601 Scrivener's error corrected Senate 20000531 Recalled from Committee, 11 SJ placed on the Calendar Senate 19990408 Introduced, read first time, 11 SJ referred to Committee House 19990407 Read third time, sent to Senate House 19990406 Amended, read second time House 19990331 Debate adjourned until Tuesday, 19990406 House 19990325 Committee report: Favorable with 25 HJ amendment House 19990128 Introduced, read first time, 25 HJ referred to Committee Versions of This Bill Revised on March 25, 1999 - Word format Revised on April 6, 1999 - Word format Revised on May 31, 2000 - Word format Revised on June 1, 2000 - Word format
Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter
May 31, 2000
Introduced by Reps. Robinson, Kelley, Simrill, H. Brown, Sandifer, Fleming, Easterday, McKay, Rice, Leach, D. Smith, Hamilton, Klauber, Trotter, Haskins, Harrison, Vaughn and Barrett
S. Printed 5/31/00--S. [SEC 6/1/00 4:40 PM]
Read the first time April 8, 1999.
EXPLANATION OF GENERAL FUND IMPACT:
Attorney General's Office
The Attorney General's office forecasts a potential cost to the General Fund of the State pursuant to Section 15-77-300. However, the Attorney General's office notes that the amount is currently not quantifiable. Pointing out that the passage of the bill would certainly expose the state to a greater liability, the Attorney General's office notes that the liability would result from the inclusion of proceedings that are either brought by or against the state as opposed to only proceedings brought by the state.
Regarding the proposed amendment, the Attorney General's office projects that passage of this bill will still open the state up to a material liability that is not quantifiable. The reasoning for this is that liability will be increased by amending Section 15-77-300 to include that in any action, regardless of which party brings the action, the prevailing private party may be awarded fees against the state. The decision to award fees will be determined by a tribunal, which implies more than one person will have to agree on such award.
Administrative Law Judge Division
The Administrative Law Judge Division forecasts no potential cost to the General Fund of the State with the passage of the proposed legislation.
Office of State Budget
TO AMEND SECTION 15-77-300, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE AWARDING OF ATTORNEY'S FEES IN STATE INITIATED ACTIONS, SO AS TO FURTHER PROVIDE FOR THE AWARDING OF ATTORNEY'S FEES IN SUCH ACTIONS AND IN ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS; AND TO AMEND SECTION 15-77-310, RELATING TO PETITIONING FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES, SO AS TO REVISE THE TIME WITHIN WHICH THE PREVAILING PARTY MUST PETITION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES AND TO PERMIT A PETITION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES IN ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 15-77-300 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
In any civil action brought by the State, any political subdivision of the State or any party who is contesting state action, unless the prevailing party is the State or any political subdivision of the State, the court may allow the prevailing party to recover reasonable attorney's fees to be taxed as court costs against the appropriate agency if:
(1) The court finds that the agency acted without substantial justification in pressing its claim against the party; and
(2) The court finds that there are no special circumstances that would make the award of attorney's fees unjust.
In any civil action or administrative proceeding, a prevailing private party may be awarded attorney's fees against the State, or a political subdivision or agency of the State, if the court, chief procurement officer, administrative law judge, procurement review panel, or other appropriate tribunal finds that:
(1) the State, or a political subdivision or agency of the State, acted without substantial justification in bringing or defending its claims against the prevailing private party; and
(2) there are no special circumstances that would make the award of attorney's fees unjust.
The provisions of this section do not apply to civil actions relating to the establishment of public utility rates, disciplinary actions by state licensing boards, habeas corpus or post conviction relief actions, child support actions,
except as otherwise provided for herein, and child abuse and neglect actions, except as provided by law."
SECTION 2. Section 15-77-310 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
The A private party entitled to attorney's fees shall petition for the attorney's fees within thirty days following the later of:
(1) final disposition of the case
(2) the issuance of a final administrative decision.
The petition must be supported by an affidavit setting forth the basis for the request."
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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