CR 54 - Judgment and CostsComments for CR 54 must be received no later than April 30, 2007.
Suggested Amendment to Civil Rule (CR) 54
concerning Judgment and Costs
Submitted by the Board of Governors of the Washington State Bar Association
Purpose: These suggested amendments are based in part on a recommendation of the judges and clerks of the Court of Appeals. By imposing a ten-day deadline on the filing of motions for attorneys’ fees, costs, and the like, the amendment to CR 54(d) is intended to prevent parties from raising trial-level attorney fee issues very late in the appellate process, sometimes after one or all appellate briefs have been submitted.
Currently, the Civil Rules contain no deadline by which a party must file a motion for an award of fees in the trial court. Yet RAP 2.4(g) and 7.2(i) allow an appeal of an award of attorney fees (and/or costs) to automatically join an appeal on the merits of the case anytime after the appellate court has accepted review. This can create delay at the appellate level when an aggrieved party seeks to obtain appellate review of a subsequently entered attorney fee award.
The primary purpose of the proposed amendments is to require a prevailing party to move for attorneys’ fees (and any other costs not provided by the statute) within 10 days of the entry of judgment—the same deadline imposed for other post-judgment motions. This is done by adding a new section (d)(2) to CR 54.
A secondary purpose of the proposed amendment is to better harmonize the language of the applicable Civil Rules with each other and with the relevant statutes (in particular, RCW 4.84.010, .030, and .090). Language added to new subsection (d)(1) of CR 54 and the amendment to CR 78(e) are designed to expressly include both “costs” and “disbursements” and to clarify that the disbursement “affidavit” can be part of the “cost bill.”
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