(a) If a prevailing party other than the state, in a civil action or contested case proceeding other than a tort action, brought by or against the state, shows that the position of the state was not substantially justified, the court or administrative law judge shall award fees and other expenses to the party unless special circumstances make an award unjust.
(b) A party seeking an award of fees and other expenses shall, within 30 days of final judgment in the action, submit to the court or administrative law judge an application of fees and other expenses which shows that the party is a prevailing party and is eligible to receive an award, and the amount sought, including an itemized statement from any attorney or expert witness representing or appearing on behalf of the party stating the actual time expended and the rate at which fees and other expenses were computed. The party shall also allege that the position of the state was not substantially justified.
(c) The court or administrative law judge may reduce the amount to be awarded under this section, or deny an award, to the extent that the prevailing party during the proceedings engaged in conduct that unduly and unreasonably protracted the final resolution of the matter in controversy. The decision of an administrative law judge under this section must be made a part of the record containing the final decision of the agency and must include written findings and conclusions.
(d) This section does not preclude a party from recovering costs, disbursements, fees, and expenses under other applicable law.