2015 ORS 20.075¹
Factors to be considered by court in awarding attorney fees
  • limitation on appellate review of attorney fee award

(1) A court shall consider the following factors in determining whether to award attorney fees in any case in which an award of attorney fees is authorized by statute and in which the court has discretion to decide whether to award attorney fees:

(a) The conduct of the parties in the transactions or occurrences that gave rise to the litigation, including any conduct of a party that was reckless, willful, malicious, in bad faith or illegal.

(b) The objective reasonableness of the claims and defenses asserted by the parties.

(c) The extent to which an award of an attorney fee in the case would deter others from asserting good faith claims or defenses in similar cases.

(d) The extent to which an award of an attorney fee in the case would deter others from asserting meritless claims and defenses.

(e) The objective reasonableness of the parties and the diligence of the parties and their attorneys during the proceedings.

(f) The objective reasonableness of the parties and the diligence of the parties in pursuing settlement of the dispute.

(g) The amount that the court has awarded as a prevailing party fee under ORS 20.190 (Prevailing party fees).

(h) Such other factors as the court may consider appropriate under the circumstances of the case.

(2) A court shall consider the factors specified in subsection (1) of this section in determining the amount of an award of attorney fees in any case in which an award of attorney fees is authorized or required by statute. In addition, the court shall consider the following factors in determining the amount of an award of attorney fees in those cases:

(a) The time and labor required in the proceeding, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved in the proceeding and the skill needed to properly perform the legal services.

(b) The likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment by the attorney would preclude the attorney from taking other cases.

(c) The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services.

(d) The amount involved in the controversy and the results obtained.

(e) The time limitations imposed by the client or the circumstances of the case.

(f) The nature and length of the attorney’s professional relationship with the client.

(g) The experience, reputation and ability of the attorney performing the services.

(h) Whether the fee of the attorney is fixed or contingent.

(3) In any appeal from the award or denial of an attorney fee subject to this section, the court reviewing the award may not modify the decision of the court in making or denying an award, or the decision of the court as to the amount of the award, except upon a finding of an abuse of discretion.

(4) Nothing in this section authorizes the award of an attorney fee in excess of a reasonable attorney fee. [1995 c.618 §6; 2001 c.417 §3]

Notes of Decisions

Factor considera­tion require­ment applies to appellate courts. McCarthy v. Oregon Freeze Dry, Inc., 327 Or 84, 957 P2d 1200 (1998), clarified 327 Or 185, 957 P2d 1200 (1998)

Findings re­gard­ing attorney fees are adequate if sufficiently clear to permit meaningful appellate review of relevant facts and legal criteria relied upon. McCarthy v. Oregon Freeze Dry, Inc., 327 Or 185, 957 P2d 1200 (1998)

In assessing whether parties and attorneys were reasonable and diligent in pursuing settle­ment of dispute, court may evaluate offer of settle­ment unless offer was made during media­tion process. Bidwell and Bidwell, 173 Or App 288, 21 P3d 161 (2001)

Lack of findings does not permit reversal on ap­peal of attorney fees award where opposing party fails to tender specific objec­tions to trial court identifying issues to be considered re­gard­ing award. Gillies and Gillies, 175 Or App 460, 28 P3d 1244 (2001)

In determining whether requested hourly rate for attorney fees is reasonable, federal district court for Oregon uses Oregon State Bar Economic Survey as initial benchmark. Roberts v. Interstate Distributor Co., 242 F. Supp. 2d 850 (D. Or. 2002)

In determining objective reasonableness of claims and de­fenses asserted by party, court may consider only con­duct during pro­ceed­ing, not con­duct giving rise to pro­ceed­ing. Niman and Niman, 206 Or App 400, 136 P3d 1186 (2006)

Trial court's reduc­tion of requested attorney fees that are otherwise reasonable must be supported by ra­tional nexus between factor that serves as basis of reduc­tion, underlying circumstances that give rise to reduc­tion and amount of reduc­tion. Grisby v. Progressive Preferred Insurance Co., 233 Or App 210, 225 P3d 101 (2010)


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 20—Attorney Fees; Costs and Disbursements, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors020.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 20, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano020.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.