2016 Colorado Revised Statutes
Title 13 - Courts and Court Procedure
Article 17 - Attorney Fees
Part 1 - Frivolous, Groundless, or Vexatious Actions
§ 13-17-102. Attorney fees - definitions

CO Rev Stat ยง 13-17-102 (2016) What's This?

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, in any civil action of any nature commenced or appealed in any court of record in this state, the court may award, except as this article otherwise provides, as part of its judgment and in addition to any costs otherwise assessed, reasonable attorney fees.

(2) Subject to the limitations set forth elsewhere in this article, in any civil action of any nature commenced or appealed in any court of record in this state, the court shall award, by way of judgment or separate order, reasonable attorney fees against any attorney or party who has brought or defended a civil action, either in whole or in part, that the court determines lacked substantial justification.

(2.1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this part 1, the filing of a certificate of review pursuant to section 13-20-602 related to any licensed health care professional shall create a rebuttable presumption that the claim or action is not frivolous or groundless, but it shall not relieve the plaintiff or his attorney from ongoing obligations under rule 11 of Colorado rules of civil procedure.

(3) When a court determines that reasonable attorney fees should be assessed, it shall allocate the payment thereof among the offending attorneys and parties, jointly or severally, as it deems most just, and may charge such amount, or portion thereof, to any offending attorney or party.

(4) The court shall assess attorney fees if, upon the motion of any party or the court itself, it finds that an attorney or party brought or defended an action, or any part thereof, that lacked substantial justification or that the action, or any part thereof, was interposed for delay or harassment or if it finds that an attorney or party unnecessarily expanded the proceeding by other improper conduct, including, but not limited to, abuses of discovery procedures available under the Colorado rules of civil procedure or a designation by a defending party under section 13-21-111.5 (3) that lacked substantial justification. As used in this article, "lacked substantial justification" means substantially frivolous, substantially groundless, or substantially vexatious.

(5) No attorney fees shall be assessed if, after filing suit, a voluntary dismissal is filed as to any claim or action within a reasonable time after the attorney or party filing the dismissal knew, or reasonably should have known, that he would not prevail on said claim or action.

(6) No party who is appearing without an attorney shall be assessed attorney fees unless the court finds that the party clearly knew or reasonably should have known that his action or defense, or any part thereof, was substantially frivolous, substantially groundless, or substantially vexatious; except that this subsection (6) shall not apply to situations in which an attorney licensed to practice law in this state is appearing without an attorney, in which case, he shall be held to the standards established for attorneys elsewhere in this article.

(7) No attorney or party shall be assessed attorney fees as to any claim or defense which the court determines was asserted by said attorney or party in a good faith attempt to establish a new theory of law in Colorado.

(8) This section shall not apply to traffic offenses, matters brought under the provisions of the "Colorado Children's Code", title 19, C.R.S., or related juvenile matters, or matters involving violations of municipal ordinances.

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