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U.S. Supreme Court

‘Empty-handed’ Plaintiff Can’t Win Fees

Posted Jun 4, 2007 1:40 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a party that loses a civil rights case on the merits cannot recover attorney fees, even if it wins a preliminary injunction in the case.

The unanimous opinion was written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, SCOTUSblog reports.

“A plaintiff who achieves a transient victory at the threshold of an action can gain no award under [a] fee-shifting provision if, at the end of the litigation, her initial success is undone and she leaves the courthouse empty-handed," Ginsburg wrote.

Jurist says the decision reverses the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Atlanta.

The opinion is Sole v. Wyner, No. 06-531 (PDF).

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