2006 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representative Baker (74th)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 11-53-81, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY THE RECOVERY OF ATTORNEY'S FEES ON OPEN ACCOUNTS OR OTHER LAWFUL DEBTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 11-53-81, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
11-53-81. When any person fails to pay an open account or other lawful debt within thirty (30) days after receipt of written demand therefor correctly setting forth the amount owed and an itemized statement of the account or debt in support thereof, that person shall be liable for reasonable attorney's fees to be set by the judge for the prosecution and collection of such claim when judgment on the claim is rendered in favor of the plaintiff. Recovery of attorney's fees for other lawful debts shall not exceed twenty percent (20%) if the debt is One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or less or thirty percent (30%) if the debt is more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) but not more than Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500.00). Evidence of receipt of written demand by the spouse of the debtor when they are living together as husband and wife on behalf of the debtor may be introduced as evidence of written demand on the debtor. If that person sued on the open account or other lawful debt shall prevail in the suit, he shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees to be set by the judge.
If delivery of written demand on the debtor is attempted, but not accomplished because circumstances made delivery of written demand impossible, a notation, on the envelope containing the written demand, made by the person attempting delivery stating the date of the attempted delivery, the reasons why delivery could not be accomplished along with the initials of the person attempting delivery and making said notation may be introduced as evidence of written demand on the debtor, and if the judge in his discretion finds that sufficient evidence of due diligence in delivery of written demand has been made, he may make a conclusion of written demand for purposes of justice and find that there has been written demand on the debtor.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.