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May 20, 2006

The trial judge erred in not awarding costs for law clerks as part of attorney fees recoverable for a consumer sales practice act violation, the court holds in Jarmon v. Friendship Auto Sales.

The lower court had awarded damages of $2,500 to the plaintiff, trebled that to $7,500, but then awarded only about $3,500 of the nearly $13,000 in attorney fees that were requested, discounting the charges for law clerk time in their entirety. The appellate court noted that use of law clerks should be encouraged, because it reduces the cost of litigation. Given that the law clerk expenses were more than the trebled damage award, I'm not sure that contention is justified.

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