A. Except as provided in section 32-3632 and section 42-2064, subsection F, a hearing officer or administrative law judge shall award fees and other costs to any prevailing party in a contested case or an appealable agency action brought pursuant to any state administrative hearing authority. For purposes of this subsection, a person is considered to be a prevailing party only if both:
Terms Used In Arizona Laws 41-1007
- Action: includes any matter or proceeding in a court, civil or criminal. See Arizona Laws 1-215
- Agency: means any board, commission, department, officer or other administrative unit of this state, including the agency head and one or more members of the agency head or agency employees or other persons directly or indirectly purporting to act on behalf or under the authority of the agency head, whether created under the Constitution of Arizona or by enactment of the legislature. See Arizona Laws 41-1001
- Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
- Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
- Contested case: means any proceeding, including rate making, except rate making pursuant to article XV, Constitution of Arizona, price fixing and licensing, in which the legal rights, duties or privileges of a party are required or permitted by law, other than this chapter, to be determined by an agency after an opportunity for an administrative hearing. See Arizona Laws 41-1001
- Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
- Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
- Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
- Party: means each person or agency named or admitted as a party or properly seeking and entitled as of right to be admitted as a party. See Arizona Laws 41-1001
- Person: means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, governmental subdivision or unit of a governmental subdivision, a public or private organization of any character or another agency. See Arizona Laws 41-1001
- Property: includes both real and personal property. See Arizona Laws 1-215
1. The agency’s position was not substantially justified.
2. The person prevails as to the most significant issue or set of issues unless the reason that the person prevailed is due to an intervening change in the law.
B. Reimbursement under this section may be denied if during the course of the proceeding the party unduly and unreasonably protracted the final resolution of the matter.
C. A party that seeks an award of fees or other costs shall apply to the hearing officer or administrative law judge, within thirty days after the final decision or order, providing:
1. Evidence of the party’s eligibility for the award.
2. The amount sought.
3. An itemized statement from the attorneys and experts stating:
(a) The actual time spent representing the party.
(b) The rate at which the fees were computed.
D. The award of reasonable attorney fees pursuant to subsection A of this section need not equal or relate to the attorney fees actually paid or contracted, but an award may not exceed the amount paid or agreed to be paid.
E. A decision of a hearing officer or administrative law judge under this section is subject to judicial review. If fees and other costs were denied by the hearing officer or administrative law judge because the party was not the prevailing party but the party prevails on appeal, the court may award fees and other costs for the proceedings before the hearing officer or administrative law judge if the court finds that fees and other costs should have been awarded under subsection A of this section.
F. The department shall pay the fees and costs awarded pursuant to this section from any monies appropriated to the department and available for that purpose, or from other operating costs of the department. If the department fails or refuses to pay the award within thirty days after the demand, and if no further review or appeals of the award are pending, the person may file a claim for the award with the department of administration which shall pay the claim within thirty days in the same manner as an uninsured property loss under chapter 3.1, article 1 of this title, except that the department shall be responsible for the total amount awarded and shall pay it from operating monies. If the department had appropriated monies available for paying the award at the time it failed or refused to pay, the legislature shall reduce the department’s operating appropriation for the following fiscal year by the amount of the award and appropriate that amount to the department of administration as reimbursement for the loss.
G. This section does not apply to:
1. Any grievance and appeal procedure pursuant to title 36, chapter 29.
2. Any appeal procedure pursuant to chapter 4, article 6 of this title.
3. Any administrative appeal filed by an inmate in an Arizona state prison.
H. For the purposes of this section:
1. "Department" includes a state agency, department, board or commission, and the universities.
2. "Party" includes an individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, association and public or private organization.