prevailing party

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The term “prevailing party” has been defined in different ways by various courts. In Waxman v. Waxman, the Massachusetts Appeals Court defined “prevailing party” as a party that achieves a favorable judgment. In First Citizens Bank & Trust Company v. Stewart Title Guaranty Company, the Colorado Court of Appeals defined “prevailing party” as one which prevails on a significant issue in the litigation and derives some of the benefits sought by the litigation. The California Code of Civil Procedure states that a “prevailing party” may be a party with a net monetary recovery, a defendant in whose favor a dismissal is entered, a defendant where neither plaintiff nor defendant obtains any relief, or a defendant as against those plaintiffs who do not recover any relief against that defendant. 

In some jurisdictions, the prevailing party may be entitled to recover attorney’s fees and other costs associated with the lawsuit.

[Last updated in August of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]