Linardos v. Cuomo
A court may award attorneys' fees to a plaintiff who proves fraud. George Linardos sued eight defendants, alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, negligent and innocent misrepresentation, and tortious interference with business expectancy. The plaintiff proved that one of the defendants, Stephen Cuomo, allegedly perpetrated a fraud, in reckless disregard of the plaintiff's rights, or in an intentional and wanton violation of the plaintiff's rights. After the court awarded the plaintiff nominal damages of $1 on certain counts, Linardos requested attorneys' fees of approximately $68,895. Punitive or exemplary damages in a fraud case may include attorneys' fees, pursuant to Wedig v. Brinster, a 1983 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. The court apparently found that the plaintiff's attorneys' efforts "were misdirected to a substantial degree." The court approved attorneys' fees of $15,000 on the fraud count and disbursements of $2,223.