CSHB 145(JUD): "An Act relating to public interest litigants and to attorney fees."

00 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 145(JUD) 01 "An Act relating to public interest litigants and to attorney fees." 02 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 * Section 1. AS 09.60.010 is amended to read: 04 Sec. 09.60.010. Costs and attorney fees allowed prevailing party. The 05 supreme court shall determine by rule or order the costs, if any, that may be allowed a 06 prevailing party in a civil action. Unless specifically authorized by statute or by 07 agreement between the parties, attorney fees may not be awarded to a party in a civil 08 action for personal injury, death, or property damage related to or arising out of fault, 09 as defined in AS 09.17.900, unless the civil action is contested without trial, or fully 10 contested as determined by the court. In a civil action related to, or an appeal from 11 an administrative agency contesting, a decision of the Department of 12 Environmental Conservation, the Department of Fish and Game, or the 13 Department of Natural Resources through which one or more of those agencies 14 makes a coastal consistency determination or adopts regulations, or for which 15 there was an opportunity for the public to comment to the agency before the final

01 agency decision and to seek administrative review before the agency following the 02 initial agency decision, attorney fees may only be awarded to or against a public 03 interest litigant in the same manner as attorney fees may be awarded to or 04 against a nonpublic interest litigant. 05 * Sec. 2. AS 09.60.010 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 06 (b) In this section, "public interest litigant" means a party bringing a civil 07 action or appeal that 08 (1) is designed to effectuate strong public policies; 09 (2) will benefit numerous people; 10 (3) could only be expected to be brought by a private party; and 11 (4) the party bringing the civil action or appeal would lack sufficient economic 12 incentive to bring if it did not involve issues of general importance. 13 * Sec. 3. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 14 read: 15 APPLICABILITY. This Act applies to all civil actions and appeals filed on or after 16 the effective date of this Act.