44A-35. Attorneys' fees.

In any suit brought or defended under the provisions of Article 2 or Article 3 of this Chapter, the presiding judge may allow a reasonable attorneys' fee to the attorney representing the prevailing party. This attorneys' fee is to be taxed as part of the court costs and be payable by the losing party upon a finding that there was an unreasonable refusal by the losing party to fully resolve the matter which constituted the basis of the suit or the basis of the defense. For purposes of this section, "prevailing party" is a party plaintiff or third party plaintiff who obtains a judgment of at least fifty percent (50%) of the monetary amount sought in a claim or is a party defendant or third party defendant against whom a claim is asserted which results in a judgment of less than fifty percent (50%) of the amount sought in the claim defended. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event an offer of judgment is served in accordance with G.S. 1A-1, Rule 68, a "prevailing party" is an offeree who obtains judgment in an amount more favorable than the last offer or is an offeror against whom judgment is rendered in an amount less favorable than the last offer. (1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1010, s. 3; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 763, s. 1.)