John V. Evans v. Jeff D. – Brief for Amici Curiae (NAACP, Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights, ACLU, NY Legal Aid Society)



May a court, in determining post-judgment fee entitlement under 42U.S.C. § 1988 in a case in which only injunctive relief is sought, approve a coerced waiver of all attorneys fees sought by defense counsel on the eve of trial as a condition of providing relief on the merits through a consent decree?


Amici are public interest law organizations that have substantial experience in the litigation of civil rights cases subject to various statutes providing for awards of attorneys fees, particularly the Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Awards Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. § 1988. We have been involved in many cases, either as counsel for parties or as amicus curiae, which have established basic standards for awarding fees.

Our interest in the issues presented by this case is two-fold. First, we depend on donated services of attorneys in the private bar to assist us in con-ducting litigation. In our experience, the potential for fee awards to prevailing parties in such litigation has increased the willingness of the private bar to participate in civil rights cases. The extent that fees and costs become unavailable even when the party receiving pro bono representation prevails, the availability of donated services will decrease.

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