Bocquet v. Herring
In Bocquet v. Herring, 972 S.W.2d 19, 20-21 (Tex. 1998), the court discussed statutory language similar to TUFTA; the Declaratory Judgments Act provided that the trial court "may award costs and reasonable and necessary attorney's fees as are equitable and just." Bocquet, 972 S.W.2d at 20 (quoting Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 37.009).
The court explained that the statutory language "does not require an award of attorney fees to the prevailing party," but instead "affords the trial court a measure of discretion in deciding whether to award attorney fees or not." Id.
The court continued, "the same is true of other statutes that provide that a court 'may' award attorney's fees." Id.
The Bocquet court noted "four limitations on the court's discretion" in making an award of attorney's fees, however. Id.
The statute "entrusts attorney fee awards to the trial court's sound discretion, subject to the requirements that any fees awarded be reasonable and necessary, which are matters of fact, and to the additional requirements that fees be equitable and just, which are matters of law." Id.
Courts of appeal conduct a "multi-faceted review involving both evidentiary and discretionary matters" to determine whether the trial court's ruling was arbitrary, unreasonable, or without regard to guiding legal principles, or was without supporting evidence. Id. at 21.