The State of Ohio then appealed, arguing that the 2010 consent decree was a full and final settlement of all claims, including attorney's fees. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court order and upheld the award of additional attorney's fees, agreeing that there had been no waiver of fees by the consent order because the parties thereto did not intend it to dispositive of all claims.
Noting that the Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Award Act (Fees Act), 42 U.S.C. Section 1988(b), "permits a court in its discretion to award the 'prevailing party'," Pouillon v. Little, 326 F.3d 713, 716 (6th Cir. 2003), the Appellate Court said that "The consent decree does not explicitly refer to attorneys' fees and costs incurred during the time period claim in the plaintiffs' third motion for fees...The issue of attorneys' fees seems to be an afterthought..."
In attacking the district court order, the defendants stated that the decree was "final and binding" and meant to be "in resolution of this action," In re Lybarger, 793 F.2d 136, 138 (6th Cir.1986). The Appellate Court recognized these concerns, but took notice of the fact that the "district court retains the power to modify or police a consent decree," showing that lacking specific language to the contrary, the plaintiffs did not waive any resulting claims for additional fees. See: Northeast Ohio Coalition for Homeless v. Secretary of Ohio, 695 F.3d 563 (6th Cir. 2012).
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Related legal case
Northeast Ohio Coalition for Homeless v. Secretary of Ohio
|Cite||695 F.3d 563 (6th Cir. 2012)|
|Level||Court of Appeals|