Fox v. Vice, No. 10-114, 2011 BL 147883 (U.S. June 6, 2011) The Supreme Court recently held that where a plaintiff asserted frivolous civil rights claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as well as non-frivolous state law claims, the fee-shifting provision in 42 U.S.C. § 1988 only entitled the defendants to recover attorney’s fees for costs that would not have been incurred “but for” the frivolous claims. Though occurring in the context of a police chief’s action against his campaign opponent rather than a traditional employment relationship, the Supreme Court’s ruling resolves a circuit split and provides important guidance to employers regarding their rights to seek attorney’s fees from employees who bring frivolous lawsuits under federal anti-discrimination statutes.
Factual and Procedural History
§ 1988’s Fee-Shifting Provision
Allocation of Attorney’s Fees between Frivolous and Non-Frivolous Claims
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