The Kelley Institute
Law of Lawyering
Supreme Court Review
Cases tagged as: attorneys fees
Astrue v. Ratliff
130 S. Ct. 2521 (2010) (PDF)
Attorneys' fees were awarded under 28 U.S.C.S. § 2412(d) to the party that prevailed in the action against United States. Holding that they were (1) payable to litigant rather than litigant's counsel; and that they were (2) subject to offset and satisfy the preexisting debt that litigant owed United States.
Boyer v. Louisiana
The Court initially granted cert to examine the defendant's right to a speedy trial where the indigent defendant required state counsel and where the court believed only issues of a lack of state funding for death penalty-qualified attorneys fees caused an almost seven year delay for trial. The court, however, dismissed 5-4 the writ of cert as improvidently granted (DIG) because of discovered other events that delayed trial, including defense continuance requests, Hurricane Rita, and pre-trial motions among others.
Fox v. Vice
131 S. Ct. 2205 (2011) (PDF)
The Court addressed the award of attorney's fees under a fee-shifting statute in civil rights litigation involving frivolous and non-frivolous claims, and the Court held that reasonable fees may be granted to the defendant only for those costs that the defendant would not have incurred but for the frivolous claims.
Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co.
130 S. Ct. 2149 (PDF)
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) litigant held, under 29 U.S.C.S. § 1132(g), (1) not required to be "prevailing party" to be eligible for attorney's fees award; and was (2) entitled to an award of fees and costs as long as the litigant achieved some degree of success on the merits.
Highmark Inc v. Allcare Health Management System, Inc.
134 S. Ct. 1744 (2014) (PDF)
A district court's exceptional-case determination under 35 U.S.C. § 285, which provides for an award of attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in patent litigation in “exceptional cases,” should be reviewed for abuse of discretion.
Los Angeles County v. Humphries
131 S. Ct. 447 (2010) (PDF)
The Court overturned the attorney's fees awarded under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. Civil rights plaintiffs suing a municipal entity under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 held required to show that alleged injury was caused by municipal policy or custom, regardless of whether relief sought was monetary or prospective. In other words, the Court held that the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege does not apply to the general trust relationship between the United States and the Native American tribes.
Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc.
134 S. Ct. 1749 (2014) (PDF)
Section 285 of the Patent Act authorizes a district court to award attorney's fees in patent litigation in "exceptional cases”. An “exceptional” case is simply one that stands out from others with respect to the substantive strength of a party's litigating position (considering both the governing law and the facts of the case) or the unreasonable manner in which the case was litigated. District courts should determine whether a case is exceptional “in the case-by-case exercise of their discretion, considering the totality of the circumstances.”
Perdue v. Kenny A. ex rel Winn
130 S. Ct. 1662 (2010) (PDF)
Federal District Court held not to have provided proper justification for 75 percent lodestar enhancement included in attorneys' fees award under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1988(b) in civil rights action, as lodestar could be enhanced due to superior attorney performance in only rare and exceptional circumstances.
Ray Haluch Gravel Co. v. Central Pension Fund
The Court reversed and remanded the case, holding that a decision on the merits is a "final decision" even if the award or amount of attorneys fees remains to be determined.
Sebelius v. Cloer
The Court ruled unanimously that an untimely National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act claim may qualify for an award of attorney's fees if it is filed in good faith and there is a reasonable basis for the claim.