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Can a judgment by default include Plaintiff's attorney's fees and court costs?

Arlington, TX |

If a N.Y. resident obtains a judgment by default against a Pa. resident, could the amount of that judgment include the Plaintiff's attorney's fees and court costs?

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Attorney answers 1


I am not licensed in NY, PA or your state of TX, but can respond that generally, an attorney's fee can be awarded only if there is either a contractual provision or a statute that authorizes such an award.

I have heard along the years that an attorney's fee can not be awarded in the event of a default. Your question does not specify in which state the law suit was filed; as it reads, it conceivably could be a NY Plaintiff suing a PA resident in Florida, for example.

As for court costs, most states have provisions that the prevailing party--the party winning the case--can be awarded court costs. Court costs are typically filing fees, fees for the service of process or subpoenas, witness fees, court reporter charges, and the like.