Arizona Attorneys Fees Statute

"In Arizona we follow the general American rule that attorney fees are not recoverable unless they are expressly provided for either by statute or contract." Cortaro Water Users' Ass'n v. Steiner, 148 Ariz. 314, 316, 714 P.2d 807, 809 (1986); see also State v. Boykin, 112 Ariz. 109, 113, 538 P.2d 383, 387 (1975) (same). In some instances, an award of attorney fees is also expressly authorized by court rule. See Ariz. R. Civ. P. 11, 37(a). Section 12-349(A)(1)-(4), A.R.S., for example, provides that a court "shall assess" an award of reasonable attorney fees against a party who "brings or defends a claim without substantial justification; brings or defends a claim solely or primarily for delay or harassment; unreasonably expands or delays the proceeding; or engages in abuse of discovery." But, by its express terms, 12-349 does not apply "to any proceedings brought by this state pursuant to title 13." 12-349(D). Section 12-341.01(C), A.R.S., similarly provides, "The court shall award reasonable attorney fees in any contested action upon clear and convincing evidence that the claim or defense constitutes harassment, is groundless and is not made in good faith." See State v. Richey, 160 Ariz. 564, 565, 774 P.2d 1354, 1355 (1989) ("Contexts in which 12-341.01(C) applies may often overlap those in which 12-349 applies.").