Attorneys' Fees

Removes from the statutory section governing limitations on
attorneys' fees in actions in the nature of assumpsit, the
provision that the section shall not apply to the recovery of
reasonable attorneys' fees by a planned community association, or
to the right of a prevailing party to recover fees exceeding 25%
of the judgment if specifically provided for by statute.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  Section 607-14, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 2 amended to read as follows:
 3      "607-14  Attorneys' fees in actions in the nature of
 4 assumpsit, etc.  (a) In all the courts, in all actions in the
 5 nature of assumpsit and in all actions on a promissory note or
 6 other contract in writing that provides for an attorney's fee,
 7 there shall be taxed as attorneys' fees, to be paid by the losing
 8 party and to be included in the sum for which execution may
 9 issue, a fee that the court determines to be reasonable; provided
10 that the attorney representing the prevailing party shall submit
11 to the court an affidavit stating the amount of time the attorney
12 spent on the action and the amount of time the attorney is likely
13 to spend to obtain a final written judgment, or, if the fee is
14 not based on an hourly rate, the amount of the agreed upon fee.
15 The court shall then tax attorneys' fees, which the court
16 determines to be reasonable, to be paid by the losing party;
17 provided that this amount shall not exceed twenty-five per cent
18 of the judgment.
19      (b)  Where the note or other contract in writing provides
20 for [a]:

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                                     H.B. NO.           

 1      (1)  A fee of twenty-five per cent or more, or provides for
 2           a reasonable attorney's fee, not more than twenty-five
 3           per cent shall be allowed[.  Where the note or other
 4           contract in writing provides for a];
 5      (2)  A rate less than twenty-five per cent, not more than
 6           the specified rate shall be allowed[.  Where the note
 7           or other contract in writing provides for the]; or
 8      (3)  The recovery of attorneys' fees incurred in connection
 9           with a prior debt, those attorneys' fees shall not be
10           allowed in the immediate action unless there was a
11           writing authorizing those attorneys' fees before the
12           prior debt was incurred.  "Prior debt" for the purposes
13           of this [section] paragraph is the principal amount of
14           a debt not included in the immediate action.
15      (c)  The [above] fees provided for by this section shall be
16 assessed on the amount of the judgment exclusive of costs and all
17 attorneys' fees obtained by the plaintiff, and upon the amount
18 sued for if the defendant obtains judgment.
19      [Nothing in this section shall limit the recovery of
20 reasonable attorneys' fees and costs by a planned community
21 association and its members in actions for the collection of
22 delinquent assessments, the foreclosure of any lien, or the
23 enforcement of any provision of the association's governing

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                                     H.B. NO.           

 1 documents, or affect any right of a prevailing party to recover
 2 attorneys' fees in excess of twenty-five per cent of the judgment
 3 pursuant to any statute that specifically provides that a
 4 prevailing party may recover all of its reasonable attorneys'
 5 fees.  "Planned community association" for the purposes of this
 6 section means a nonprofit homeowners or community association
 7 existing pursuant to covenants running with the land.]"
 8      SECTION 2.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed.
 9 New statutory material is underscored.
10      SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
12                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________