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66-176. Damages for violations; attorney fees. Any public utility or common carrier which violates any of the provisions of law for the regulation of public utilities or common carriers shall forfeit, for every offense, to the person, company or corporation aggrieved thereby, the actual damages sustained by the party aggrieved, together with the costs of suit and reasonable attorney fees, to be fixed by the court. If an appeal is taken from the judgment or any part thereof, it shall be the duty of the appellate court to include in the judgment additional reasonable attorney fees for services in the appellate court or courts.

History: R.S. 1923, 66-176; L. 1995, ch. 36, § 1; July 1.

Source or Prior Law:

L. 1883, ch. 124, § 19; L. 1901, ch. 286, § 33; Revised, 1923.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

"Recovery of Attorney Fees in Kansas," Mark A. Furney, 18 W.L.J. 535, 562 (1979).

"Public Motor Carriers, Negligence Per Se and Attorneys Fees Too," Robert G. Herndon, J.K.T.L.A. Vol. XXI, No. 6, 9 (1998).

"An Update to Consumer's Guide to Court-Awarded Attorney Fees," Mark A. Scott, J.K.T.L.A. Vol. XXII, No. 1, 7 (1998).

"Survey of Kansas Tort Law: Part I," William E. Westerbeke and Stephen R. McAllister, 49 K.L.R. 1037 (2001).

"Damage to Real Property: The Lay of the Land," Arthur E. Rhodes, 75 J.K.B.A. No. 9, 6 (2006).

"Legislative Wrap-Up," Callie Hartle, 30 J.K.T.L.A. No. 6, 16 (2007).

CASE ANNOTATIONS

1. Application of section to one-city gas public utility considered; held not applicable. Kearney v. Kansas Public Service Co., 233 Kan. 492, 493, 496, 505, 506, 507, 665 P.2d 757 (1983).

2. Statute intended to grant court in damage action power to award treble damages; KCC cannot award damages. Western Kansas Express, Inc. v. Dugan Truck Lines, Inc., 11 Kan. App. 2d 336, 341, 720 P.2d 1132 (1986).

3. Individual right of action against common carrier discussed. Dietz v. Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Rwy. Co., 16 Kan. App. 2d 342, 346, 347, 823 P.2d 810 (1992).

4. Whether claim for treble damages timely presented to trial court examined. Smith v. Printup, 254 Kan. 315, 317, 357, 359, 866 P.2d 985 (1994).

5. Whether one-year statute of limitations for actions based on penalty or forfeiture applied to 66-176 treble damages action examined. Rothwell v. Werner Enterprises, Inc., 859 F. Supp. 470, 477 (1994).

6. Action for damages and attorney fees may be filed only after KCC has determined whether utility violated laws regulating it. Grinsted Products, Inc. v. Kansas City Power & Light Co., 21 Kan. App. 2d 435, 438, 446, 901 P.2d 20 (1995).

7. No discrimination in failure to disclose and apply tariff to plaintiff; legally filed tariff constitutes constructive notice. Grindsted Products, Inc. v. Kansas Corporation Comm'n, 262 Kan. 294, 298, 937 P.2d 1 (1997).

8. Claim pursuant to section subject to three-year statute of limitations; section not a forfeiture statute. United Cities Gas Co. v. Brock Exploration Co., 984 F. Supp. 1379, 1384 (1997).

9. Plaintiff authorized to maintain private cause of action resulting from sales of natural gas within certificated service area. United Cities Gas Co. v. Brock Exploration Co., 995 F. Supp. 1284, 1290 (1998).

10. Plaintiff's suit alleging negligence not basis for attorney fees under statute. Hayes Sight and Sound, Inc. v. ONEOK, Inc., 281 Kan. 1287, 1332, 136 P.3d 428 (2006).

11. Removal of amendment allowing plaintiff to seek treble damages subjects actions to three-year statute of limitations rather than one-year limitations period. Fanning v. Sitton Motor Lines, Inc., 695 F. Supp. 2d 1156 (D. Kan. 2010).

12. Section authorizing recovery of attorney fees in similar actions under state law not applicable to action brought under federal natural gas act. N. Nat. Gas Co. v. Approximately 9117 Acres In Pratt, Kingman, & Reno Ctys., Kan., 114 F. Supp. 3d 1144, 1171 (D. Kan. 2015).


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