6-21.7. Attorneys' fees; cities or counties acting outside the scope of their authority.

In any action in which a city or county is a party, upon a finding by the court that the city or county violated a statute or case law setting forth unambiguous limits on its authority, the court shall award reasonable attorneys' fees and costs to the party who successfully challenged the city's or county's action. In any action in which a city or county is a party, upon finding by the court that the city or county took action inconsistent with, or in violation of, G.S. 160A-360.1, 153A-320.1, or 143-755, the court shall award reasonable attorneys' fees and costs to the party who successfully challenged the local government's failure to comply with any of those provisions. In all other matters, the court may award reasonable attorneys' fees and costs to the prevailing private litigant. For purposes of this section, "unambiguous" means that the limits of authority are not reasonably susceptible to multiple constructions. (2011-299, s. 1; 2019-111, s. 1.11.)