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Attorney Fees on Appeal

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CaseElizabeth Eberbach v. Christopher Eberbach

Issue:  When should attorney fees be granted on appeal?

Facts:  Following their divorce, Father claimed he is not responsible for children’s medical expenses because Mother failed to timely send him copies of the bills. The trial court held in favor of Mother upon finding that Father had sufficient notice, and awarded Mother attorney fees. Father appealed.

Appellate Decision:  The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court ruling. However, the intermediate court also denied Mother’s request for appellate attorney fees pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 27-1-122 and the parties’ Marital Dissolution Agreement, finding “we do not conclude that this appeal is devoid of merit or that it was undertaken for delay.” Mother sought and obtained Rule 11 review.

Review Granted:  April 6, 2016.

Prediction: Since the issue regarding appellate attorney fees was the only ground on which Mother was unsuccessful, it is assumed this is the issue on which she sought review. Without more factual background the Hot List cannot offer a prediction, but Ben would expect more guidance on the legal standard.