75-16.1.  Attorney fee.

In any suit instituted by a person who alleges that the defendant violated G.S. 75-1.1, the presiding judge may, in his discretion, allow a reasonable attorney fee to the duly licensed attorney representing the prevailing party, such attorney fee to be taxed as a part of the court costs and payable by the losing party, upon a finding by the presiding judge that:

(1)        The party charged with the violation has willfully engaged in the act or practice, and there was an unwarranted refusal by such party to fully resolve the matter which constitutes the basis of such suit; or

(2)        The party instituting the action knew, or should have known, the action was frivolous and malicious. (1973, c. 614, s. 1; 1983, c. 417, s. 2.)