Wednesday, February 27, 2013

SCOTUS Decision on FRCP 54(d): Marx v. General Revenue Corp.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Marx v. General Revenue Corp., covered earlier here. Justice Thomas’s majority opinion begins:

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) gives district courts discretion to award costs to prevailing defendants“[u]nless a federal statute … provides otherwise.” The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 91 Stat. 881, 15 U. S. C. §1692k(a)(3), provides that “[o]n a finding by the court that an action under this section was brought in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment, the court may award to the defendant attorney’s fees reasonable in relation to the work expended and costs.” This case pre­sents the question whether §1692k(a)(3) “provides other­wise” than Rule 54(d)(1). We conclude that §1692k(a)(3) does not “provid[e] otherwise,” and thus a district court may award costs to prevailing defendants in FDCPA cases without finding that the plaintiff brought the case in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment.

Justice Sotomayor dissents, joined by Justice Kagan.


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