There is one summary for this bill. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (05/20/2004)

Legal Expense Equity Act of 2004 - Amends the Federal judicial code to authorize parties in civil diversity litigation to serve written settlement offers on an adverse party at any time not less than 10 days before trial.

Authorizes the court, at any time before judgment is entered, to exempt from settlement any claim that presents a novel and important question of law or fact that substantially affects nonparties. Voids all settlement offers made by the parties with respect to such exempted claims.

Authorizes an offeror whose proposed settlement was declined by an offeree to file a petition with the court seeking payment by the offeree of costs and fees, including attorney's fees, from the date of the last settlement offer by either party if the ultimate judgment or order is not more favorable to the offeree than the proposed settlement. Requires the court to order payment by the offeree in such circumstances unless requiring payment would be manifestly unjust.

Limits attorney's fees ordered under this Act to: (1) the actual attorney's fees incurred by the offeree in connection with the claim; or (2) if no such cost was incurred due to a contingency fee agreement, a reasonable cost that would have been incurred by the offeree absent a contingency fee agreement.

States that this Act does not apply to claims seeking equitable remedies.