In early May 2018, I was notified by an Ada County Court clerk for a magistrate judge that a default judgment I requested in a case would only receive attorney’s fees based on a set fee schedule. The schedule was based on fraction of the amount of the default judgment. I was not willing to accept that outcome and set a hearing for a determination on the default judgment.
I also sent a letter to the Ada County Administrative Judge explaining why I believed the practice of using a fee schedule was harmful to Idahoans and contrary to the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure.
The Administrative Judge replied letting me know that she reviewed the concerns, found them valid, and that she would address the issues with the magistrate division.
Just last week, I received her response:
Dear Mr. Faux:
Thank you for your Ietter dated May 7, 2018. I have had a chance to more fully inform myself about the issues you raised.
First of all, I can assure you that, the magistrate fee schedule notwithstanding,the magistrates in Ada County have always considered the factors identified in Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 54(e)(3) on every case. Indeed, the magistrates met the suggestion to abolish the magistrate fee schedule with aplomb because they did not rely on it in the first instance. I am told that it came into existence approximately 20 years ago and has been reproduced, if underutilized, ever since.
I have full faith and confidence in the magistrates handling these cases in Ada County and no doubt that the magistrate attorney fee schedule is a thing of the past.
Thank you again for reaching out.
Administrative District Judge
You can view a copy of Judge Moody’s letter.
Based on my experience, I don’t think I would agree that the fee schedule was not utilized. As mentioned, I only wrote the letter because I was informed by a Magistrate Judge’s clerk that my client would only be awarded fees based on the fee schedule. Nevertheless, I’m satisfied with the outcome of this matter. I will also add that I was impressed by how quickly Judge Moody addressed this matter.