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Fee-Shifting Fallout


— July 9, 2003

When plaintiffs lawyer William Franz thinks about a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court decision on attorney fees, the image that comes to his mind is that of a neutron bomb�which kills all living things but leaves the buildings standing.

“This case effectively guts the [Americans With Disabilities Act] and other civil rights statutes, while technically not overturning them. Without the fee provisions, the statutes will continue to exist, but they�ll have no teeth,” says Franz, a Boca Raton, Fla., civil rights lawyer.

The incendiary ruling is Buckhannon Board and Care Home Inc. v. West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, 532 U.S. 598.

The ABA Journal has the whole story here. Or you can access the Court’s syllabus, opinion, concurrence, and dissent here.


When plaintiffs lawyer William Franz thinks about a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court decision on attorney fees, the image that comes to his mind is that of a neutron bomb�which kills all living things but leaves the buildings standing.

“This case effectively guts the [Americans With Disabilities Act] and other civil rights statutes, while technically not overturning them. Without the fee provisions, the statutes will continue to exist, but they�ll have no teeth,” says Franz, a Boca Raton, Fla., civil rights lawyer.

The incendiary ruling is Buckhannon Board and Care Home Inc. v. West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, 532 U.S. 598.

The ABA Journal has the whole story here. Or you can access the Court’s syllabus, opinion, concurrence, and dissent here.

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