Sanders v. Transit Authority of the City of Omaha d/b/a Metro

Filing 48

ORDER that the defendant's motion for attorneys' fees (filing 45 ) is denied. Ordered by Judge John M. Gerrard. (LAC)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA JAMES SANDERS, Plaintiff, 8:16-CV-454 vs. ORDER THE TRANSIT AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA D/B/A METRO AREA TRANSIT, a Nebraska corporation, Defendant. This matter is before the Court on the defendant's motion for attorneys' fees under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(k). Filing 45. That statute authorizes an award of attorneys' fees and expenses to a prevailing defendant in a discrimination suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And because the defendant was a "prevailing party" in this case, see filing 43, it seeks $34,801.50 in "fair and reasonable" costs and fees. See filing 47 at 5. The defendant's motion will be denied. Attorneys' fees and expenses are justified under § 2000e-5(k) when the plaintiff's case is "frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation." E.E.O.C. v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., 679 F.3d 657, 694 (8th Cir. 2012). But courts are to "avoid hindsight logic that equates frivolousness with the plaintiff's ultimate failure to prevail." E.E.O.C. v. Kenneth Balk & Assocs., Inc., 813 F.2d 197, 198 (8th Cir. 1987). Stated another way, so long as the plaintiff has "some basis" for the discrimination claim, a prevailing defendant may not recover attorneys' fees. Id. And the plaintiff's complaint in this case, while ultimately unsuccessful, was far from baseless. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the defendant's motion for attorneys' fees (filing 45) is denied. Dated this 9th day of March, 2018. BY THE COURT: John M. Gerrard United States District Judge -2-

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