Preliminary Injunction Relief: Attorney's Fees
Public Citizen filed an amicus brief supporting respondents and arguing that plaintiffs who win a preliminary injunction should be entitled to attorney's fees. The petitioner in the case urged the Court to adopt a rule that a plaintiff who wins a preliminary injunction without a final judgment on the merits or analogous relief is never entitled to attorney's fees. The Supreme Court held that a plaintiff whose preliminary injunction is reversed, dissolved, or otherwise undone by the final decision in the same case is not a prevailing party entitled to attorney's fees. Because this ruling is explicitly limited to this narrow category of cases, it should not affect plaintiffs' eligibility for attorney's fees in the majority of preliminary injunction cases.
Questions Presented are:
- Whether the 11th Circuit decision in Wyner v. Struhs, 179 F. App'x 566 (11th Cir. 2006) is correct in holding that a preliminary injunction is relief on the merits, or whether the Fourth Circuit decision in Smyth v. Rivero, 282 F.2d 268 (4th Cir. 2002), is correct in holding that a preliminary injunction is not a ruling on the merits and thus cannot be the basis for prevailing party status?
- Whether the Eleventh Circuit was incorrect in affirming the district court's order finding that Respondents are prevailing parties where their request for permanent injunctive relief was denied, although at an abbreviated hearing Respondents were awarded interim relief?
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