Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Klein v. City of Laguna Beach

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

January 14, 2016

STEVE KLEIN; HOWARD PUTNAM; GLEN BIONDI, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
CITY OF LAGUNA BEACH, Defendant-Appellee

Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California: December 10, 2015.

Page 694

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 8:08-cv-01369-CJC-MLG. Cormac J. Carney, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[**]

Civil Rights/Attorneys' Fees

The panel affirmed the district court's order denying attorneys' fees under California law, vacated the denial of attorneys' fees under federal law, and remanded for further proceedings.

In the underlying action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff sought to invalidate aspects of Laguna Beach ordinances prohibiting the use of sound-amplification devices on public sidewalks. After winning two appeals in this court, plaintiff was awarded nominal damages on three of his four as-applied claims. The district court concluded that plaintiff was a prevailing party under 42 U.S.C. § 1988, but it denied attorneys' fees per Farrar v. Hobby, 506 U.S. 103, 113 S.Ct. 566, 121 L.Ed.2d 494 (1992), which held that a prevailing party who seeks a large compensatory award but receives only nominal damages may not be entitled to fees. The district court also concluded that plaintiff was not entitled to fees under California law because the court had entered judgment for the City on plaintiff's state claims.

The panel affirmed the district court's order denying fees under California law. Under federal law, the panel held that because plaintiff's lawsuit achieved its future-oriented goals and plaintiff never attempted to secure compensatory damages under § 1983, the Farrar exception did not apply, and the district court erred by not considering plaintiff's entitlement to fees under the standard framework.

Michael J. Kumeta, La Mesa, California; William G. Gillespie (argued), Bonsall, California, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Philip D. Kohn, Michelle D. Molko (argued), Rutan & Tucker, LLP, Costa Mesa, California, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before: Ronald M. Gould and Marsha S. Berzon, CircuitJudges, and Jack Zouhary,[*] District Judge.

OPINION

Page 695

Ronald M. Gould, Circuit Judge:

Steve Klein filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit to invalidate aspects of Laguna Beach ordinances prohibiting the use of sound-amplification devices (" amplified speech" ) on public sidewalks. After winning two appeals in this court, Klein was awarded nominal damages on three of his four as-applied claims. Klein then moved for attorneys' fees under both state and federal law. The district court concluded that Klein was a prevailing party under 42 U.S.C. § 1988, but it denied attorneys' fees per Farrar v. Hobby, 506 U.S. 103, 113 S.Ct. 566, 121 L.Ed.2d 494 (1992), which

Page 696

held that a prevailing party who seeks a large compensatory award but receives only nominal damages may not be entitled to fees. Id. at 115. The district court also concluded that Klein was not entitled to fees under California law because the court had entered judgment for the City on Klein's state claims.

We affirm the district court's order denying fees under California law. Under federal law, we hold that because Klein's lawsuit achieved its future-oriented goals and Klein never attempted to secure compensatory damages under § 1983, the Farrar exception does not apply, and the district court erred by not considering Klein's entitlement to fees under the standard framework. See Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424, 429-30, 103 S.Ct. 1933, 76 L.Ed.2d 40 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.