MACo Testifies Against “Fee Shifting” Onto Government Defendants

HB283 was heard in the House Judiciary Committee February 18. MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp joined a panel of local government witnesses, testifying in opposition to this bill, Award of Attorney’s Fees and Expenses- Violation of Maryland Constitutional Rights. The bill would create a “fee shifting” scheme to allow plaintiffs asserting a State constitutional claim to be reimbursed for legal fees upon a judgment or settlement. It can be expected that this bill would lead to an increase in litigation, costs and create an unbalanced system.

The written testimony states:

MACo appreciates the efforts of both the bill’s sponsor and key proponents to narrow the scope and impact this bill would have on county governments, and the bill is a minor improvement over last year’s version (HB 568/SB 544 of 2014). However, MACo still believes the bill would lead to increased litigation and costs to local governments and unequal treatment between plaintiffs and defendants.

 For more on all of MACo’s 2015 Legislation, visit the Legislative Database.