Which litigation costs are recoverable in a successful property line dispute with neighbors Berkeley CA ?

Neighbors have recently built concrete/metal walls across
property line. They concede, in writing, having ‘guessed
at’/’assumed’ property line, ignored long standing
surveyors’ property line marks etched in pavement, correctly
aligned with adjacent properties, etc.

Assuming I prevail with litigation, which costs are
recoverable from neighbors, in part or in full ? Legal fees ?
Court costs ? What else should I consider in deciding
whether to proceed with finding a suitable attorney ?

Asked on June 6, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Generally, in U.S. court, under the "American rule," legal fees and other litigation expenses (e.g. if you need to hire a surveyor) are NOT recoverable in the absence of a contract stating that the loser pays the winner's costs; rather, each party bears its own expenses and legal fees. (Only the actual court filing fees, which are typically just  a very small part of the cost of litigation, can be recovered.) So you need to factor in  how much you can or are wiling to pay in deciding whether to proceed or what lawyer to hire. 

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