February 24, 2012 § 5 Comments

  • A bill pending in the Mississippi legislature may have far-reaching consequences for the people of Mississippi who need access to courts, as well as for the legal profession. It’s a bill that describes itself as “An Act to Provide for the Payment of Costs and Expenses Incurred by a Prevailing Defendant in a Civil Action …” What that means for chancery court, I believe, is that if a party in good faith seeks modification of custody to rescue a child from an abusive situation, and that party loses, he or she will have to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees and expense. You can imagine what effect that law would have on the willingness of people to risk bringing an action to have that addressed. Philip Thomas has a post here on the subject, with a link to the bill itself, and another post here, and here. This is really important to your clients and the legal profession. You need to educate yourself about this and talk with your legislator.
  • The formidable Garry Wills, a Catholic himself, skewers the church’s position on contraception and health insurance in this acerbic article, Contraception’s Con Men, in the New York Review.
  • So, which is the best language to learn? Robert Lane Greene opines in More Intelligent Life. HintIl n’est pas le Mandarin des Chinois.

§ 5 Responses to DICTA

  • fsspringer says:

    I think HB 562 is testing the waters. I will be surprised if it passes this session. I do look for something similar to be pushed for passage in the future. Though I may have to eat my words in light of the other radical measures that are being introduced this session.

  • wmatthewt says:

    Well…the provision regarding the set or hourly fee applies to the attorney. It appears that the client is excluded, leaving the door open against the losing plaintiff, but not the attorney. Does that make sense? This is not the means for meaningful change in the legal system.

  • Tim says:


    I just wanted to add that in your hypothetical custody modification case, the loser may not have to pay the winner’s fees since the bill includes a provision that excepts those who pay their attorneys a set or hourly fee.

    • Anderson says:

      Yes, that’s the really golden part, that makes it a self-parody of a certain political ideology.

      I would have a hard time seeing the MSSC uphold that, but let’s not find out.

      • Larry says:

        I have to admit that I haven’t had (or taken) time to read it carefully from beginning to end, but I don’t understand why this bill is necessary in chancery when we already have MRCP 11 and the litigation accountability act. I think it’s intended as a blow against PI cases, but I hate to see chancery litigation and the best interest of children be the victim in the cross-fire.

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