Look at your retainer agreement, this should tell you what costs are included. Typically, "fixed fee" representation covers the attorneys fees, but does NOT cover some out of pocket costs and "disbursements" that the lawyer may have to make, in particular, court filing fees, deposition transcripts, and investigators or outside forensic investigators such as physicians, engineers, etc. who may be required to testify as to your claims.
Other smaller "out of pocket" costs the attorney incurs such as photocopies and postage, etc. may or may not be covered in the fixed fee. But typically, court filing fees are not included in the fees and the client is responsible for paying them or advancing the funds as needed.
This answer is provided under the Avvo.com “Terms and Conditions of Use” (“ToU”), particularly ¶9 which states that any information provided is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship between you and me or any other attorney. Such information is intended for general informational purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing your legal issues.
In particular, my answers and those of others are not a substitute for an in-person or telephone consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction about your specific legal issue, and you should not rely solely upon Legal Information you obtain from this website or other resources which may be linked to an answer for informational purposes. You understand that questions and answers or other postings to the Site are not confidential and are not subject to attorney-client privilege. The full Avvo ToU are set forth at http://www.avvo.com/support/terms .
In addition, while similar legal principles often apply in many states, I am only licensed to practice in the State of New York and Federal Courts. Any general information I provide about non-New York laws should be checked with an attorney licensed to practice in your State. Lastly, New York State Court rules (22 NYCRR Part 1200, Rule 7.1) also require me to inform you that my answers and attorney profile posted on the Avvo.com site may be considered "attorney advertising" and that "prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome".
I agree with Mr. Lebowitz. Litigants pay filing fees and court costs, not the lawyers who represent them, although those lawyers may advance the fees. Typically a fee agreement spells out the lawyer's hourly rate, and also indicates that the client is responsible for fees. I never saw one that made the lawyer responsible for the filing fees. And if there is a fee for filing a motion, well, the client is, under general principles, on the hook for that too: it's a "cost."
Not legal advice as I don't practice law in North Carolina. It's just my two cents on the facts you describe in light of general principles of legal practice. If you need legal advice, please consult a lawyer who holds North Carolina licensure. That's not me.
You have to study the retainer agreement you executed with your attorney. If there is no such agreement, look to North Carolina law as to the necessity of a retainer agreement for the area of practice your case involves. Most court system across the country require retainer agreements and in some types of cases, these must be filed with the court. However, if your case is missing a retainer agreement or does not specify the exact terms of the representation, then you owe for motions.
We cannot declare the rights and responsibilities of clients and their lawyers here on Avvo. Instead, we can take a guess given the facts as presented that your lawyer did not intend to include motions into his representation. Why? For example, if this is a special court proceeding, motions may require leave of court, so representation is assumed without motions. We just don't know because you did not supply us with enough case details.
What we can say is that if your retainer excludes 'costs' and 'fees', then you have to reimburse the attorney those costs and fees. We can also say that litigation is expensive and if you want to float a case in a court, be prepared for the expenditure of some funds. I had a divorce case come to my office where the plaintiff (the filer of the case) said he had no money. I asked him why doesn't he withdraw his case and stay married if he did not have the money. The client left my office upset. I cannot imagine the results he expects wanting to spend nothing on a divorce.