Unreasonable ''Uncontradicted Evidence'' of Attorneys Fees

In Ragsdale v. Progressive Voters League, 801 S.W.2d 880, 881 (Tex. 1990) uncontradicted evidence was presented that attorneys' fees totaled $ 22,500, but the trial court awarded only $ 150 in attorneys' fees. Ragsdale, 801 S.W.2d at 881-82. Although the Texas Supreme Court determined the trial court clearly abused its discretion, it also stated "we do not mean to imply that in every case when uncontradicted testimony is offered it mandates an award of the amount claimed." Id. at 882. The supreme court explained, "even though the evidence might be uncontradicted, if it is unreasonable, incredible, or its belief is questionable, then such evidence would only raise a fact issue to be determined by the trier of fact." Id. A trial court could find some of the "claimed fees to be unreasonable, unwarranted, or some other circumstance which would make an award of the uncontroverted claim wrong." Id. The Phams cite two additional cases supporting their position. See Bethel v. Butler Drilling Co., 635 S.W.2d 834 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1982, writ ref'd n.r.e.) and Zemaco, Inc. v. Navarro, 580 S.W.2d 616 (Tex. Civ. App.-Tyler 1979, writ dism'd w.o.j.). The Bethel court affirmed a jury verdict which allowed only $ 12,000 in fees on an uncontradicted claim for $ 16,500 in fees. Bethel, 635 S.W.2d at 839- 42. The Zemaco case holds uncontradicted evidence from an attorney on his or her fees is not conclusive. Zemaco, 580 S.W.2d at 620.