Legal Memorandum: Attorneys Fees in Civil Rights Cases

Issue: Do 18 U.S.C. 3626 and 42 U.S.C. 1997e limit either the hourly rate or total amount of recovery for attorney’s fees allowed under 42 U.S.C. 1988?

Area of Law: Constitutional Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Attorney's fees; Limit a fee application
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: 18 U.S.C. § 3626, § 3626(g); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e, § 1997e(d), § 1997e(h), 1997e(d)(2), 42 U.S.C. 1988
Date: 08/01/2000

           18 U.S.C. § 3626(g) provides that:


(2) the term "civil action with respect to prison conditions" means any civil proceeding arising under Federal law with respect to the conditions of confinement or the effects of actions by government officials on the lives of persons confined in prison, but does not include habeas corpus proceedings challenging the fact or duration of confinement in prison;

(3) the term "prisoner" means any person subject to incarceration, detention, or admission to any facility who is accused of, convicted of, sentenced for, or adjudicated delinquent for, violations of criminal law or the terms and  conditions of parole, probation, pretrial release, or diversionary program . . .

42 U.S.C. § 1997e(d) provides:


(2) Whenever a monetary judgment is awarded in an action described in paragraph (1), a portion of the judgment (not to exceed 25 percent) shall be applied to satisfy the amount of attorney’s fees awarded against the defendant.  If the award of attorney’s fees is not greater than 150 percent of the judgment, the excess shall be paid by the defendant.

(3) No award of attorney’s fees in an action described in paragraph (1) shall be based on an hourly rate greater than 150 percent of the hourly rate established under section 3006A of Title 18, for payment of court‑appointed counsel . . .

Subsection (h) states:

As used in this section, the term "prisoner" means any person incarcerated or […]


Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)