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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 147820 Find in a Library
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:63  Issue:4  Dated:(April 1994)  Pages:28-32
Author(s): W U McCormack
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Issues involving attorney's fees in civil litigation against law enforcement officers are discussed.
Abstract: This article examines recent developments concerning the important issue of attorney's fees in civil litigation and suggests strategies for law enforcement defendants to better control potential civil liability. Included in this examination is a discussion of the ways in which an attorney receives compensation for representing a plaintiff, whether the plaintiff is reimbursed for those fees, and settlement considerations. The threat of an ever-escalating award of attorney's fees in a section 1983 lawsuit presumably causes many law enforcement defendants to settle suits before trial, even when the validity of suit is questionable because of viable defenses or immunities. The Rule 68 case, Marek v. Chesney, 473 U.S. 1 (1985) is presented as a good example of how a quick Rule 68 offer of judgment can limit attorney's fees and costs. Farrar v. Hobby, 113 S. Ct. 566 (1992) and City of Burlington v. Dague, 112 S. Ct. 2638 (1992) are offered as two important cases that may significantly lessen the impact of attorney's fees under section 1988, even when the plaintiff prevails in a lawsuit. The severability of claims strategy also is discussed. Any attorney's fee claim should be scrutinized to determine if it is excessive or unsubstantiated and a request for denial of the fee claim should be considered when the claim appears inflated. Endnotes
Main Term(s): Police
Index Term(s): Civil liability; Lawsuits; Legal fees
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