Some contracts include a "one-sided attorneys' fee clause." You will often find these in contracts where there is unequal bargaining power such as leases, consumer financing contracts and telecom contracts.
A one-sided attorneys fee clause only allows one party (the party with the weaker bargaining power) to recover attorneys' fees and costs in the case of a dispute and reads something like this:
"The Company may institute immediate action to enforce the payment of charges due and owing it, including the pursuit of all remedies available in law or equity. Customer will be responsible for paying any collection and attorney fees reasonably incurred by the Company in seeking payments owed by Customer."
Not so fast.
Under Washington law, courts are required to treat these one-sided attorneys' clauses as reciprocal with the award of attorneys fees going to the prevailing party regardless of what the contract says:
So, in the event your contract includes a one-sided attorneys fee clause, just know that the court is required to award attorneys fees and costs to you regardless of this unfair contractual term being a part of your contract.
Contact Mark D. Walters