Putting some gloss on the definition of “prevailing party,” a state appeals court held Wednesday that fees may be awarded under a fee-shifting agreement if litigation that settled before trial produces a positive result.

A company’s suit against a manager who allegedly violated a no-compete contract “acted as a catalyst that prompted defendant to take action and correct an unlawful practice,” the court held in Sika Corp. v. Hostler, A-2159-09.

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