25-824. Pleadings; use in other actions; frivolous pleading; effect; effect of signature; frivolous actions; award of attorney's fees and costs.

(1) A pleading shall not be used against a party in any criminal prosecution or action or proceeding for a penalty or forfeiture as proof of a fact admitted or alleged in such pleading. If a pleading is frivolous or made in bad faith, it may be stricken. The signature of a party or of an attorney on a pleading constitutes a certificate by him or her that he or she has read the pleading; that to the best of his or her knowledge, information, and belief there is good ground for the filing of the pleading; and that it is not interposed for delay.

(2) Except as provided in subsections (5) and (6) of this section, in any civil action commenced or appealed in any court of record in this state, the court shall award as part of its judgment and in addition to any other costs otherwise assessed reasonable attorney's fees and court costs against any attorney or party who has brought or defended a civil action that alleges a claim or defense which a court determines is frivolous or made in bad faith.

(3) When a court determines reasonable attorney's fees or costs should be assessed, it shall allocate the payment of such fees or costs among the offending attorneys and parties as it determines most just and may charge such amount or portion thereof to any offending attorney or party.

(4) The court shall assess attorney's fees and costs if, upon the motion of any party or the court itself, the court finds that an attorney or party brought or defended an action or any part of an action that was frivolous or that the action or any part of the action was interposed solely for delay or harassment. If the court finds that an attorney or party unnecessarily expanded the proceedings by other improper conduct, including, but not limited to, abuses of civil discovery procedures, the court shall assess attorney's fees and costs.

(5) No attorney's fees or costs shall be assessed if a claim or defense was asserted by an attorney or party in a good faith attempt to establish a new theory of law in this state or if, after filing suit, a voluntary dismissal is filed as to any claim or action within a reasonable time after the attorney or party filing the dismissal knew or reasonably should have known that he or she would not prevail on such claim or action.

(6) No party who is appearing without an attorney shall be assessed attorney's fees unless the court finds that the party clearly knew or reasonably should have known that his or her action or defense or any part of such action or defense was frivolous or made in bad faith, except that this subsection shall not apply to any situation in which an attorney licensed to practice law in the state is appearing without an attorney, in which case he or she shall be held to the standards for attorneys prescribed in this section.

Source:R.S.1867, Code § 113, p. 412; R.S.1913, § 7684; Laws 1915, c. 144, § 1, p. 313; C.S.1922, § 8628; C.S.1929, § 20-824; R.S.1943, § 25-824; Laws 1969, c. 182, § 1, p. 774; Laws 1983, LB 277, § 1; Laws 1987, LB 261, § 1.