S-1511.1  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 5801



State of Washington      55th Legislature     1997 Regular Session


By Senator Hargrove


Read first time 02/13/97.  Referred to Committee on Government Operations.

Revising standards for award of fees and expenses in review of agency action.

    AN ACT Relating to awards of fees and expenses in judicial review of agency action; and amending RCW 4.84.350.




    Sec. 1.  RCW 4.84.350 and 1995 c 403 s 903 are each amended to read as follows:

    (1) Except as otherwise specifically provided by statute, a court shall award a qualified party that prevails in a judicial review of an agency action fees and other expenses, including reasonable attorneys' fees, unless the court finds ((that the agency action was substantially justified or)) that circumstances make an award grossly unjust.  A qualified party shall be considered to have prevailed if the qualified party obtained relief on a significant issue that achieves some benefit that the qualified party sought.

    (2) The amount awarded a qualified party under subsection (1) of this section shall not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars.  Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply unless all parties challenging the agency action are qualified parties.  If two or more qualified parties join in an action, the award in total shall not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars.  The court, in its discretion, may reduce the amount to be awarded pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, or deny any award, to the extent that a qualified party during the course of the proceedings engaged in conduct that unduly or unreasonably protracted the final resolution of the matter in controversy.


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