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Civil Practice – Declaratory Judgment Act – Attorney’s Fees – ‘Costs’

Swaps, LLC v. ASL Properties, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-360-16, 7 pp.) (Richard Dietz, J.) Appealed from Union County Superior Court (W. Erwin Spainhour, J.) N.C. App.

Holding: The General Assembly’s longstanding policy is that statutes governing costs generally exclude attorneys’ fees and that, when the Legislature intends to depart from this general rule, it does so expressly. Since the General Assembly chose to refer only to “costs” in G.S. § 1-263 and not to specify that the term “costs” includes attorneys’ fees, § 1-263 does not permit the trial court to award attorneys’ fees.

We reverse the trial court’s award of attorneys’ fees in this Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act case.

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