On Friday, June 7, 2013, the Alaska Supreme Court issued an opinion in favor of a trust advisory committee that had sued Wells Fargo Bank, NA. The reversed the trial court’s failure to either award the trust committee attorneys fees or adequately explain why there were not entitled to fees.
The trust advisory committee spent four years seeking property insurance premium and coverage information from the trustee. The committee then sought a superior court order to get the documents they were entitled to and for an attorney’s fees award under Alaska Civil Rule 82. The superior court granted approximately half of the committee’s information and document requests and compelled the trustee to provide copies of the insurance policy. The trial court then ruled that neither party clearly prevailed and denied the committee’s attorney’s fees request. The committee appealed, arguing that the superior court misinterpreted Rule 82 and abused its discretion by not determining that the committee was the prevailing party entitled to a fee award. The Supreme Court reversed.