(1) In any civil judicial proceeding, including judicial review of an administrative
proceeding based on a claim of unlawful discrimination, the court shall award to the
prevailing plaintiff attorney and expert witness fees reasonably and necessarily incurred
in connection with the discrimination claim, at the trial court or agency level and
on appeal. The court may award reasonable attorney fees and expert witness fees incurred by a
defendant who prevails in the action if the court determines that the plaintiff had
no objectively reasonable basis for asserting a claim or no reasonable basis for appealing
an adverse decision of a trial court or agency.
(2) In making an award under this section, the court shall calculate attorney and
expert witness fees on the basis of a reasonable hourly rate at the time the award
is made, multiplied by the amount of time actually and reasonably spent in connection
with the discrimination claim.
(3) When an award under this section is made against a state agency or an officer
or employee of a state agency, the award shall be paid by the agency directly from
funds available to it.
(4) As used in this section, “unlawful discrimination” means discrimination based
upon personal characteristics including, but not limited to, race, religion, sex,
sexual orientation, national origin, alienage, marital status or age.
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