Timpson et al v. Haley et al
OPINION AND ORDER dismissing without prejudice 143 Motion for Attorney Fees; dismissing without prejudice 143 Motion for Attorney Fees per Rule 406b; denying as moot 146 Motion to Strike; denying as moot 147 Motion to Stay. Signed by Honorable Donald C Coggins, Jr on 1/23/2018.(abuc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Johnny Timpson, by and through his,
Conservator, Sandra Timpson, and Sandra
Timpson, in her individual capacity,
Nikki Haley, et al.,
C/A No. 6:16-cv-1174-DCC
OPINION AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court upon Plaintiffs’ Petition for Interim Fees and Costs,
ECF No. 143, a Motion to Strike Plaintiffs’ Petition for Interim Fees and Costs, ECF No. 146, and
a Motion to Stay Plaintiffs’ Petition for Interim Fees and Costs, ECF No. 147.
Plaintiffs complain of Defendants’ alleged violations of numerous state and federal statutes
related to the implementation and administration of South Carolina’s Medicaid Program. The
action is currently stayed by Order of the Honorable Mary Geiger Lewis, United States District
Judge for the District of South Carolina, pending resolution of Defendant Nikki Haley’s Motion
for Clarification, or Alternatively, for Other Relief.1 ECF Nos. 133, 135. There are a number of
other pending discovery-related disputes, including a request by Plaintiffs to take several
depositions beyond the deadline established by the Scheduling Order. ECF No. 144.
Plaintiffs have filed a Petition for Interim Fees and Costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b)
and 42 U.S.C. § 12205, which both permit the recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs by a “prevailing
The Court will address the remaining motions in this case in a hearing to be scheduled as soon
party.” In sum and substance, Plaintiffs argue that they should be able to recover for obtaining a
successful result in a parallel State administrative proceeding. The Court disagrees.
The Supreme Court of the United States has held that courts must find that “‘a plaintiff
[has] receive[d] at least some relief on the merits of his claim before he can be said to prevail.’”
Texas State Teachers Ass’n v. Garland Ind. Sch. Dist., 489 U.S. 782, 792 (1989) (quoting Hewitt
v. Helms, 482 U.S. 755, 760 (1987)); see also Lefemine v. Wideman, 568 U.S. 1, 4 (2012) (“A
plaintiff ‘prevails,’ we have held, ‘when actual relief on the merits of his claim materially alters
the legal relationship between the parties by modifying the defendant’s behavior in a way that
directly benefits the plaintiff.’” (emphasis added) (quoting Farrar v. Hobby, 506 U.S. 103, 111–
12 (1992))). Here, Plaintiffs have not yet obtained any relief in this federal action, and thus cannot
be considered a prevailing party. There will come a time in this litigation where a “prevailing
party” emerges; however, that time is not now.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ Petition for Interim Fees and Costs is DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE, and the Motion to Strike Plaintiffs’ Petition for Interim Fees and Costs and the
Motion to Stay Plaintiffs’ Petition for Interim Fees and Costs are DENIED AS MOOT.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Donald C. Coggins, Jr.
United States District Judge
January 23, 2018
Spartanburg, South Carolina
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