23. Losers Pay Winners’ Legal Costs & Common Court Costs

“The loser in a lawsuit must reimburse the winner for an amount equal to the loser’s expenses.” (Jay Johansen, http://www.johansens.us/sane/law/loserpay.htm.) However, this limitation should only apply when the winner spends more than $10,000 in legal costs. In other words, losers must pay winners their entire legal expenses up to $10,000 regardless of how much money the loser spent. If the loser spent more than $10,000, then the loser would be required to match the winner’s expenses up to an amount equal to whatever the loser spent on his own defense, with the only other cap being the amount the winner spent.

In legal proceedings (arbitrations, trials, etc.), when one side definitely and undoubtedly knew of their guilt from the beginning, and that fact is revealed in the course of the proceedings or during some subsequent proceedings (even if the truly guilty party was previously exonerated), then that side should be charged with the theft of an amount of money equal to what has been spent by the other side(s) (including all direct, indirect charges as well as any punitive charges paid so far) and required to pay full compensation plus a punitive multiple of up to several times the total cost imposed onto the other side.

Determining Common Court Costs

The losers in legal proceedings should pay for arbitration or court overhead costs proportionate to the length of the trial (in days), like utilities, court personnel (judges, bailiffs, stenographers, etc.), materials used (paper, copying machines, etc.), building maintenance, etc. Perhaps the formula for determining the proper fee should be based on the total costs of running the courthouse in the previous year. This figure would then be divided by the total number of trial-days for that year (number of trials multiplied by the average number of days each trial lasted) to determine the current level of this daily fee. For example, say a courthouse’s operating costs were $10,000,000 last year and 2,000 trials were conducted in that same year, each with an average length of 5 days. Each trial would then have cost an average of $10,000, but spread over five days, the costs are $2,000 per day. This would mean that a four day trial this year would cost the losing party $8,000 payable to the court. Specific trials which include any large special expenses would naturally have those specific expenses added onto the cost of that specific trial, rather than have such costs dispersed and averaged across all trials that take place at that courthouse. The overall goal, however, is to help make the courts financially self-sufficient.

In addition, the government should be allowed to charge 5% above these total processing expenses both so that it could make sure that all court costs are recovered and so that it can recoup at least some of the incurred common overhead expenses associated with processing other crimes through the criminal justice system for which no criminals have been found or for which criminals are not able to pay.

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