Woods v. Carey

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Attorney Fees
  • Date Filed: 07-17-2013
  • Case #: 09-16113
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Reinhardt for the Court; Circuit Judges Noonan; Dissent by Circuit Judge Murguia
  • Full Text Opinion

Provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 USC 1997e(d)(2), capping attorney fees to 150% of the monetary judgment "does not apply to fees incurred on appeal by a prisoner who successfully defends the verdict he obtained in the district court."

Plaintiff-appellee, Earnest Cassell Woods II ("Woods"), is a prisoner who filed suit against Santos Cervantes ("Cervantes"), a prison Appeals Coordinator, for violating his Eighth Amendment rights. In the trial court, a jury found for Woods and awarded him $1,500 in compensatory and punitive damages. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the jury verdict against Cervantes. Woods, filing pro se in trial court, was represented by counsel on appeal and "requested $16,800 in attorney's fees and $4,521.09 in costs." Cervantes argued that while Woods was a prevailing party and allowed to seek attorney's fees, those fees were capped at 150% of the monetary award pursuant to the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 42 U.S.C. 1997e(d)(2). The Ninth Circuit held that 42 U.S.C. 1997e(d)(2) "does not apply to fees incurred on appeal by a prisoner who successfully defends the verdict that he obtained in the district court." Motion GRANTED.

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