Town of Milton Board of Health v. BrissonAnnotate this Case
Defendant Armand Brisson was the owner of a two-story brick structure built around 1850 and located in the Town of Milton. He had lived in that building for most of his life. At the time of the events in question, he was living on the second floor of the building and utilizing the large attic for storage, while renting the first floor for use as a small bar/restaurant. In 2012, the Milton Police Department notified the Town’s deputy health officer that bricks were falling off the western exterior of the building onto the street and sidewalk below. After confirming this and observing that a part of the western brick wall was bulging out, the health officer issued an emergency health order later that same day condemning the building and declaring it unfit for any use or occupancy. Defendant did not contest either the civil penalty or the compensatory costs for engineering fees assessed against him by the court, but contended that the court’s award of attorney’s fees was neither authorized under the applicable statute nor warranted under an equitable exception to the American Rule requiring each party to bear the cost of its own attorney’s fees. After review, the Supreme Court agreed and therefore vacated the attorney’s fee award.