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RULE 3-741. ATTORNEYS' FEES

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland Rules

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 3. Civil Procedure--District Court
Chapter 700. Special Proceedings
MD Rules, Rule 3-741
RULE 3-741. ATTORNEYS' FEES
(a) Definitions. In this Rule “attorneys' fees” and “related expenses” have the meanings set forth in Rule 2-701.
(b) Scope of Rule. This Rule applies to claims made in an action in the District Court for attorneys' fees allowed by law or by contract. The Rule does not apply to a dispute between an attorney and the attorney's client over the attorney's fee and it does not apply to a proceeding under Rule 1-341 or other Rule permitting the award of reasonable counsel fees as a sanction or remedy for violation of a court order.
(c) Request.
(1) Generally. A claim for attorneys' fees shall be made in the complaint, other pleading allowed by Rule 3-302, or amendment to a pleading allowed by Rule 3-341.
(2) Exception. When the party seeking fees is a defendant in any action brought under Code, Real Property Article, Title 8, Subtitle 4; Title 8A, Subtitle 17; or § 14-132, the claim may be made at trial.
(d) Presentation of Supporting Evidence.
(1) Generally. Except as provided in subsections (d)(2), (d)(3), or (d)(4) of this Rule or otherwise ordered by the court, evidence in support of or in opposition to the entitlement to such fees and the reasonableness of the amount requested shall be presented at trial of the underlying cause of action.
(2) Judgment on Affidavit. If the party seeking attorneys' fees filed a motion for judgment on affidavit pursuant to Rule 3-306, evidence establishing the right to such fees and the reasonableness of the requested fee shall be included in an accompanying affidavit. If the action proceeds to trial, the evidence may be supplemented at trial.
Cross reference: See Rule 3-306 (d) for additional requirements if the action is based on an assigned consumer debt.
(3) Judgment by Confession. If the party seeking attorneys' fees has requested judgment by confession pursuant to Rule 3-611, evidence establishing the right to such fees and the reasonableness of the requested fee shall be included in the affidavit required by Rule 3-611 (a). If judgment by confession is not entered or is stricken and the action proceeds to trial, the evidence may be supplemented at trial.
(4) Certain Actions Involving Real Property. If the party seeking attorneys' fees is a defendant in an action brought under Code, Real Property Article, Title 8, Subtitle 4; Title 8A, Subtitle 17; or § 14-132 who has complied with section (c) of this Rule and prevailed in the action, the court shall set a schedule for written submissions in support of and in opposition to the right to such fees and the reasonableness of the requested fees, or shall schedule a hearing, or both, as the court deems appropriate.
(e) Determination of Award.
(1) Generally. If the court concludes that an award of attorneys' fees is permitted but not required, the court shall determine whether an award should be made and, if so, the amount thereof. If the court concludes that an award is required, it shall determine the amount thereof.
(2) Amount. Except as provided in subsection (e)(3) of this Rule:
(A) if the claimed right to attorneys' fees is based on law, the court shall apply the standards set forth in Rule 2-703 (f)(3);
(B) if the claimed right is based on a contract, the court shall apply the standards set forth in Rule 2-704 (e)(2) or 2-705 (f)(1), as applicable.
(3) Exception. If the claim for an award of attorneys' fees does not exceed the lesser of 15% of the principal amount found to be due or $4,500, the court need not require evidence on all of the factors set forth in Rule 2-703 (f)(3) if the party claiming the award produces evidence otherwise sufficient to demonstrate that the amount claimed is reasonable and does not exceed the amount that the claiming party has agreed to pay that party's attorney. The evidence shall include at a minimum:
(A) a detailed description of the work performed, broken down by hours or factions thereof expended on each task;
(B) the amount or rate charged or agreed to in writing by the requesting party and the attorney; and
(C) the attorney's customary fee for similar legal services.
Committee note: Subsection (e)(2)(B) of this Rule follows the approach set forth in Monmouth Meadows v. Hamilton, 416 Md. 325 (2010), for contractual fee-shifting cases generally. Subsection (e)(3) of this Rule is intended to permit the court to excuse the need to consider all of the Rule 2-703 (f)(3) factors where the claim for attorneys' fees does not exceed the lesser of 15% of the amount due or $4,500. Fees in those limited amounts are common in consumer transactions and have been found reasonable by the General Assembly in some of those settings. See Code, Commercial Law Article, §§ 12-307.1 (Consumer Loans) and 12-623 (Retail Instalment Sales).
(f) Judgment. An award of attorneys' fees shall be included in the judgment on the underlying cause of action but shall be separately stated.
Source: This Rule is new.

Credits

[Adopted Oct. 17, 2013, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.]
MD Rules, Rule 3-741, MD R RCP DIST CT Rule 3-741
Current with amendments received through August 1, 2019.
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