an individual sued me for the cost of a puppy as well as vet bills incurred while we were living together. The puppy was a gift from him. I hired an attorney rather than do this pro se since I was afraid I would lose my dog. At trial the judge determined the dog was in fact a gift and the vet bills were a necessary part of the care of the pet. The individual brought this suit 9 months after the breakup when he came to the realization that we would never get back together so I view this a a retaliatory and punitive act on his part. My attorney fees were more than $1,500 dollars (more than the value of the dog).
Adding to the answers above, many states have statutes providing for reimbursement of fees and costs when there is literally no way that a reasonable person could determine that the case had merit, and your state may have such a law on the books. However, this would now be another issue for your attorney to litigate (more fees from you) and by no means a surefire victory.
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Unfortunately, the general rule in all states is that each party bears his or her own attorney's fees. There are certain exceptions. For example, if you are suing for breach of contract and the contract states that the losing party must pay the winning party's attorney's fees, the winning party is entitled to attorney's fees. There are other narrow exceptions. However, unless you fall under one of these exceptions, you will not be successful in obtaining attorney's fees even if you deem your opponent's claim to be frivolous.
This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The issue of it being a gift can be a close call, so the likelihood of success in a claim of frivolous litigation is not great. You should talk to your lawyer about it and let them pursue it on your behalf if they think it worthwhile.
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