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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Teresa Nickerson was injured in a car accident in 1992. She and the other driver were both insured by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., who paid Nickerson $25,000 under the other driver’s policy limits and $10,000 under Nickerson’s personal injury protection coverage. Nickerson later filed suit against State Farm to recover under the uninsured/underinsured motorist portion of her policy. The jury awarded her $225,000 in actual damages and $46,500 in attorneys fees. Before the judgment was signed, State Farm tendered Nickerson a check for damages, less liability/PIP offsets of $35,000, excluding attorneys’ fees, and including postjudgment interest in the amount of $191,294. In its final judgment, the trial court awarded actual damages and prejudgment interest for a total of $371,849, which exceeded the $300,000 policy limit, so the court awarded judgment for the UM policy limits. The court also ordered State Farm to pay Nickerson’s $46,500 in attorneys’ fees and post-judgment interest. On appeal, State Farm challenges the award of attorneys’ fees, which were awarded pursuant to Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code ��38.001 and -.002. It claims it did not have an obligation to pay Nickerson until a judicial determination of liability was made, so under those provisions there was no breach of contract justifying the award of attorneys’ fees. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court says it finds this situation no different from any other contractual dispute in which liability is at issue. In the context of a UM lawsuit, “an award of attorneys’ fees to a plaintiff recovering on a valid claim founded on a written contract, preceded by proper presentment, is mandatory.” The court acknowledges that the 11th Court of Appeals in Eastland has reached a different conclusion. The court finds the reasoning used by that court unpersuasive because it would mean that attorneys’ fees could not be recovered in any contractual dispute that results in litigation, so long as the losing party promptly pays after the amount owed is determined through litigation. “Even though State Farm eventually paid after a judicial determination, and even if that payment was timely, State Farm did not pay on the claim made on the contract, and Nickerson was required to enforce her right to payment through the courts. That, in a contract situation, is the context in which attorney’s fees are properly recoverable.” OPINION:Ross, J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, JJ.

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