Friday, June 10, 2011

SCOTUS Decision in Fox v. Vice

We covered earlier the Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari in Fox v. Vice (No. 10-114). This week the Court issued a unanimous decision authored by Justice Kagan. It begins:

Federal law authorizes a court to award a reasonable attorney’s fee to the prevailing party in certain civil rights cases. See 42 U. S. C. §1988. We have held that a defendant may receive such an award if the plaintiff’s suit is frivolous. In this case, the plaintiff asserted both frivolous and non-frivolous claims. We hold today that a court may grant reasonable fees to the defendant in this circumstance, but only for costs that the defendant would not have incurred but for the frivolous claims. A trial court has wide discretion in applying this standard. But here we must vacate the judgment below because the court used a different and incorrect standard in awarding fees.

For further coverage and analysis, check out Amy Howe’s post at SCOTUSblog.


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