David Hiner and Deelila Quick v. Bruce Johnson M.D. and Michael King, M.D., 2012COA164 (October 11, 2012)

Attorneys’ fees, or the denial of them, can add insult to injury. In this case plaintiffs sue a hospital and doctors for a wrongful death during surgery. The hospital settles. The doctors win at trial, but do not assert counterclaims. The prevailing doctors are awarded statutory costs and attempt to secure payment of those costs from plaintiffs’ settlement proceeds by obtaining a writ of attachment. CRCP 102 controls such writs. The court of appeals held that the writ was improper because CRCP 102 does not authorize writs for non-counterclaiming defendants. If a writ is wrongfully issued to a plaintiff, a defendant is entitled to costs for defeating the writ. But, the Rule does not authorize costs to plaintiffs who defeat improper writs obtained by non-counterclaiming defendants. Plaintiffs’ request for fees and costs for defeating the writ was, therefore, properly denied.



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