Opinion:State ex rel. Harris v. Three Hundred Twenty Five Thousand and Eighty Dollars, 2021 OK 16
Subject matter:Recovery of Attorney’s Fees in a Civil Forfeiture
Date Decided:April 6, 2021
Trial Court:District Court of Tulsa County
Route to this Court:Appeal of award of attorney’s fees; assigned to Court of Civil Appeals, Division I, Petition of Certiorari of Appellant Hingey granted. 
Facts:Police executed a search warrant on a residence after an informant allegedly purchased marijuana from Claimant/Appellant, Austin Hingey inside the residence. Police discovered $2,212.00 in Hingey’s wallet and found marijuana brownies, marijuana butter, and marijuna candy, among other marijuana and mushrooms. Hingey was arrested. Officers then searched Hingey’s residence where they found another $5,050.00 and $480.00 and then searched a storage unit where Hingey had access, but which was owned by his brother. The storage unit contained $325,080.00 and more than twenty pounds of marijuana. As a result of the seizure of the money, the state filed three civil forfeiture cases against Hingey for the $2,121.00, the $5,530.00, and the $325,080.00. The forfeiture case went to a jury trial where Hingey testified the money was not from drug sales but rather was his savings from teaching dance lessons and various contract and remodeling jobs. The state dismissed the $5,530.00 forfeiture case and the jury returned a verdict for the return of the $2,121.00 and for $25,080.00 of the $325,080.00. Hungry sought attorney’s fees and costs. The trial court awarded 10% of the requested fees and did not apply 63 O.S. Supp. 2016 § 2-506 retroactively. The Court of Civil Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part. 
Standard of Review:Abuse of discretion for review of trial court’s award of attorney’s fees; De novo review for determination of whether statute applies retroactively.
Analysis:63 O.S. Supp. 2016 § 2-506 applies retroactively because it is a procedural statute.  Section 2-506 allows a trial court to award attorney’s fees, costs, postjudgment interest, and other interest if the defendant prevails. Court finds that the trial court abused its discretion in only awarding 10% of Hingey’s requested attorney’s fees and that trial court should have analyzed the attorney’s fees request under the Burk factors. The Court also concluded that Hingey was entitled to appeal-related attorney’s fees.  
Outcome:Reversed and remanded with instructions to reevaluate request for attorney’s fees according to the Burk factors. 
Vote:Kauger, J. (author), joined by Darby, C.J., Winchester, Edmondson, Combs, Gurich, JJ.Kane, V.C.J., concurring in part and dissenting in part (by separate writing).Rowe, J., concurring in part and dissenting in party (by separate writing).
Other: V.C.J. Kane concurred by reason of stare decisis with regard to retroactive application of statute; dissented to finding that trial court abused its discretion in award.J. Rowe dissent to majority’s holding that statute applied retroactively; agrees that§ 2-506 is a procedural statute and that the taxing of an attorney fee and costs is generally a mode of procedure,” but Court needed to look at all of the statute’s items of recovery to determine applicability of general rule’s exception.