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Winn v R K Tool 16.67

Sections 31,38

APPEALS, Attorney fees, Assessment of costs

CITE AS: Winn v R K Tool, Wayne Circuit Court, No. 00-033312-AE (May 16, 2001)

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Lisa M. Winn
Employer: R K Tool
Docket No. B2000-00943-155771

CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: The MES Act does not authorize the awarding of costs and/or attorney fees, or sanctions, for the successful prosecution of an appeal in court of a Board or Referee decision or order.

FACTS: Claimant filed a motion for attorney fees, costs and sanctions after a successful appeal in circuit court of a Board decision.

DECISION: Claimant is not entitled to costs and/or attorney fees, or sanctions, under Sections 31 and 38. Motion for costs, attorney fees and sanctions dismissed.

RATIONALE: Costs are wholly statutory. Where there is no statutory authority to award costs, costs are not recoverable. Jeffrey v Hursh, 58 Mich 246, 258 (1885); Hester v Detroit Comm’rs of Parks & Boulevards, 84 Mich 450 (1891); Kuberski v Panfil, 275 Mich 495, 497 (1936); Gundersen v Village of Bingham Farms, 1 Mich App 647, 648-649 (1965).

Attorney fees may not be awarded absent statute or court rule. Nemeth v Abonmarche Development, 457 Mich 16 (1998); Davis v Koch, 118 Mich App 529(1982); State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins Co v Allen, 50 Mich App 71 (1973).

The court rule governing appeals under the MES Act, MCR 7.104, does not refer to attorney fees or costs. Section 31 of the MES Act, MCL 421.31, does not authorize costs or attorney fees; it is an “express limitation enjoining the charging of fees or the payment of attorney fees beyond what is approved by the Commission.” Section 38 of the MES Act, MCL 421.38, provides for judicial review of unemployment benefit claim cases, and makes “no reference to exaction of costs or attorney fees.” The claimant/appellant “has failed to establish a legally cognizable basis for an award of attorney fees or costs.”


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