Gomes v. Trustees and President of the University of Maine

2003 | Cited 0 times | D. Maine | October 7, 2003

ORDER AFFIRMING RECOMMENDED DECISION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES

On August 22, 2003, the United States Magistrate Judge filed her Recommended Decision on Defendants' Motion for Award of Attorney's Fees. Although neither party filed an objection to the Recommended Decision, this court retains the authority to perform its own review. The court has made an independent review of the facts and does not accept the entire recitation of facts set forth in the Recommended Decision. The Court nevertheless concurs with the Recommended Decision of the Magistrate Judge, since under the undisputed facts, the defendants have failed to establish they are "the prevailing party" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. Section 1988(b). Buckhannon Bd. & Care Home v. W. Va. Dep't of Health and Human Res., 532 U.S. 598, 604, 121 S. Ct. 1825, 1840, 149 L. Ed. 2d 855, 862 (2001). The defendants have failed to demonstrate that they have worked "an autarkic material alteration in the legal relations of the parties". Maine School Admin. Dist. No. 35 v. R., 321 F.3d 9, 16 (1st Cir. 2003). Moreover, they have failed to demonstrate that the plaintiffs' suit was "vexatious, frivolous, or brought to harass or embarrass the defendant." Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 429 n.2 (1983); Casa Marie Hogar Geriatrico, Inc. v. Rivera-Santos, 38 F.3d 615, 618 (1st Cir. 1994)(in order for a prevailing defendant to recover attorney's fees, the defendant must "establish that the plaintiffs' suit was totally unfounded, frivolous, or otherwise unreasonable"). The Defendants' Motion for Attorney's Fees is DENIED .

SO ORDERED.

DATED THIS 7TH DAY OF OCTOBER, 2003

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