INITIATIVE MEASURE NO. 17
SPONSOR: John R. McCarty, P.O. Box 13987, Jackson, MS 39236; 601-352-7867
SUBJECT MATTER: Damages in civil actions.
PROPOSED BALLOT TITLE: Should a non-prevailing party in any civil action
be required by the Constitution to pay a prevailing party's attorneys' fees?
PROPOSED BALLOT SUMMARY: This initiative would amend the Mississippi
Constitution to require a non-prevailing party in a civil action to pay
attorneys' fees to a prevailing party. A non-prevailing party could avoid
liability for attorneys' fees only if he offers to allow judgment to be entered
against himself for a specified amount, the prevailing party then rejects that
offer but does not obtain more than that offer at the conclusion of the trial.
ORIGINAL FILING: November 16, 1998
The official ballot title and ballot summary for an initiative measure are
prepared by the Mississippi Attorney General's Office. Initiative petitions are
valid for one year. According to Mississippi law, for an initiative petition to
be sufficient a minimum of 91,673 certified signatures must be gathered; with at
least 18,355 certified signatures from each of the five congressional districts.
The number of signatures required represents 12% of the total number of votes
cast for Governor in the last gubernatorial general election. All signatures on
the petition must be certified by county Circuit Clerks as those of registered
For more information on the initiative process in Mississippi, consult the
Mississippi Constitution of 1890, Section 273; and Miss. Code Ann., Sections
23-17-1 through 23-17-61 (1972).