When is a “win” good enough win to give a successful plaintiff the right to have costs and expert expenses made a part of the judgment? That issue was recently addressed by the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal in Clark C. Cenac, Jr. & Eileen C. Cenac v. Evangeline Business Par, LLC & National Building & Contracting, Co., Inc., 2015-CA-0198 (La. App. 1 Cir. 5/27/16). The case involved a dispute over a fence line and allegedly damaged trees. The plaintiffs won a partial victory, i.e. they were awarded damages for the destruction of their fence; however, they were not awarded damages for destruction of their trees.  The trial court ruled that each party was to bear its own costs.

On appeal, plaintiffs argued that, because they won a money judgment and were the prevailing party, they should be awarded all costs and fees, including fees for the arborists’ trial testimony. The appellate upheld the ruling of the trial court as the plaintiffs “failed to prove their case” that any trees on their property had been destroyed.