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Loser-Pays and Election Litigation

A court in Helena, Montana has refused to apply the state's loser-pays rule to shift attorneys' fees in a case that challenged the eligibility of ballots cast in an election for the statute legislature.

The Helena Independent Record opined that loser-pays rules shouldn't apply in litigation involving elections because there is a public interest at stake in the outcome in addition to the personal stakes of the candidates. It wrote, "[W]e realize that "loser-pays" laws are designed to deter frivolous lawsuits. But we have to agree with Judge Christopher, who said that "candidates and their attorneys should not have to subsidize the rest of the state by bearing the entire burden" of the cost."



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.