City of Riverside v. Rivera is the Supreme Court's latest attempt to define a "reasonable" attorney's fee under the Civil Rights Attorney's Fees Awards Act (Fees Act). In Rivera, the Court affirmed a fee award of approximately $245,000 despite the fact that the plaintiffs recovered only $33,350 in damages. In so doing, the Court missed an opportunity to provide a measure of objective force to the definition of a reasonable attorney's fee. The purpose of this Note is to examine the guidelines for determining a reasonable attorney's fee under the Fees Act. First, the Note will examine the legislative history of the Fees Act as well as judicial interpretation of the definition of a reasonable fee. Second, the various opinions filed in Rivera will be outlined and analyzed. Finally, the Note proposes legislative reform that would require a more objective definition of reasonableness.
Gregory Scott Heier,
City of Riverside v. Rivera, a Windfall for Civil Rights Attorneys,
66 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol66/iss4/8