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(a) In any civil action in any court of record of this state, reasonable and necessary attorney's fees and expenses of litigation shall be awarded to any party against whom another party has asserted a claim, defense, or other position with respect to which there existed such a complete absence of any justiciable issue of law or fact that it could not be reasonably believed that a court would accept the asserted claim, defense, or other position. Attorney's fees and expenses so awarded shall be assessed against the party asserting such claim, defense, or other position, or against that party's attorney, or against both in such manner as is just.
(b) The court may assess reasonable and necessary attorney's fees and expenses of litigation in any civil action in any court of record 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 Chapter 11 of this title, the “Georgia Civil Practice Act.” As used in this Code section, “lacked substantial justification” means substantially frivolous, substantially groundless, or substantially vexatious.
(c) No attorney or party shall be assessed attorney's 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 Georgia if such new theory of law is based on some recognized precedential or persuasive authority.
(d) Attorney's fees and expenses of litigation awarded under this Code section shall not exceed amounts which are reasonable and necessary for defending or asserting the rights of a party. Attorney's fees and expenses of litigation incurred in obtaining an order of court pursuant to this Code section may also be assessed by the court and included in its order.
(e) Attorney's fees and expenses under this Code section may be requested by motion at any time during the course of the action but not later than 45 days after the final disposition of the action.
(f) An award of reasonable and necessary attorney's fees or expenses of litigation under this Code section shall be determined by the court without a jury and shall be made by an order of court which shall constitute and be enforceable as a money judgment.
(g) Attorney's fees and expenses of litigation awarded under this Code section in a prior action between the same parties shall be treated as court costs with regard to the filing of any subsequent action.
(h) This Code section shall not apply to proceedings in magistrate courts. However, when a case is appealed from the magistrate court, the appellee may seek litigation expenses incurred below if the appeal lacks substantial justification.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Georgia Code Title 9. Civil Practice § 9-15-14 - last updated April 14, 2021 | https://codes.findlaw.com/ga/title-9-civil-practice/ga-code-sect-9-15-14.html
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