Attorney fees.

PositionCiaprazi v. County of Nassau - Cody v. Hillard - Hunt v. State of Missouri, Dept. of Corrections

5. Attorney Fees U.S. District Court Ciaprazi v. County of Nassau, 195 F.Supp.2d 398 (E.D.N.Y. 2002). An inmate filed a [section] 1983 ATTORNEY FEES action alleging that county correction officers used excessive force against him. After a jury LIMITATION awarded nominal damages on one count, the inmate applied for attorney fees and costs. The district court held that the inmate was the "prevailing party" but that the award of attorneys fees was not warranted, where the inmate recovered only $1 in nominal damages against one officer, the jury found in favor of the other officer, the case did not involve a significant legal issue, and there was no award of injunctive relief. (Nassau County Correctional Center, New York) U.S. Appeals Court Cody v. Hillard, 304 F.3d 767 (8th Cir. 2002). A class of state prisoners who had brought a PLRA--Prison [section] 1983 action against state prison Litigation officials moved for the award of attorney fees Reform Act after a private settlement agreement was entered, dismissing the case without prejudice. The district court granted the motion and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the class was entitled to a fee award for three separate phases of the litigation and that the award of fees was not banned by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) of 1996. The court also held that the private settlement agreement did not bar the award of attorney fees. The court found that the prisoners were the prevailing party for the purpose of an attorney fee award under [section] 1988, where they had obtained a court-ordered consent decree that governed the operation of a state prison for twelve years. The appeals court affirmed the district court award of fees in the amount of $106,877. (South Dakota State Penitentiary) U.S. Appeals Court Hunt v. State of Missouri, Dept. of Corrections, 297 F.3d 735 (8th Cir. 2002). Female nurses who ATTORNEY FEES had been assigned by a temporary staffing agency to provide nursing services to state prisons, brought claims against the corrections department under Title VII. The district court entered judgment in favor of the nurses on the retaliation claims and awarded them attorney fees. The nurses appealed and the appeals court affirmed the district court decision. The appeals court held that the nurses were employees of the department, not independent contractors, and thus had standing to sue under Title VII, noting that the existence of a contract referring to a...

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