I have an important question.....
We filed a very valid lawsuit against a company
The company filed a Motion to Dismiss
We filed an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss
If we lose, how likely is it that the attorneys from the other side will get fees?
It kind of scares me - it's not a frivolous lawsuit by any means
3 Answers from Attorneys
If the motion to dismiss is granted it will be because the court found that your case was without merit. So regardless of what your opinion of the case is, if the court disagrees and finds the case was improperly filed then you could be, but would not necessarily be, sanctioned with an order to pay the defendant's fees. That is up to the discretion of the court. Other than that, it would depend on what you are suing for. If it is under a contract, then you would only pay fees if the contract says the prevailing party gets their fees. If it is under a statute, then it depends on whether the statute says the prevailing party gets their fees. Otherwise, the basic rule that each side bears their own fees is applied.
Whether or not the other side's attorneys can get fees depends on the nature of the lawsuit. If you are suing for a breach of contract, and the contract contains an attorney fee clause in the contract, you may be on the hook for attorney's fees. An attorney would have to review the complaint and any relevant documents like a contract to be sure.
Attorney fees are available in some types of cases but not in others. Whether they are available in your case depends upon what sort of claims you made.
Motions to Dismiss are more common in federal court than in state court. (The same procedure is available in state court, but it has a different name.) The rules about attorney fees are also different in state and federal courts.
Cases may be dismissed for a variety of reasons. You say that your claim is not frivolous, and I'll assume that you're right. But a case can also be dismissed if it was filed in the wrong court, if the limitations period has expired, if the complaint does not name an essential party, or for a variety of other reasons. Even a claim that is strong in principle could be pleaded poorly; if you do not know how to write a complaint, you may have failed to properly state your claim even though the claim could have been stated properly.
Note that courts often grant motions to dismiss but give the plaintiff a chance to file an amended complaint in order to cure the defects in the original complaint.
This is the best I can do without more information about your case.
You should get a lawyer to represent you if at all possible. Even if you haven't made any fatal mistakes yet, you will have plenty of other opportunities. A good lawyer will be able to navigate this minefield far better than you could.
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