Romain v. Walters

The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's determination that plaintiffs were not prevailing parties and denial of recovery of attorneys' fees. Plaintiffs filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1988, seeking both declaratory relief that defendant's actions violated their rights and injunctions staying defendant from terminating their Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The Fifth Circuit held that plaintiffs were the prevailing party before the district court because plaintiffs obtained judicially-sanctioned relief in the form of the Settlement Order, and the Settlement Order materially altered the legal relationship of the parties by making defendant subject to additional requirements not included under the SNAP program. The Fifth Circuit remanded to the district court to assess whether special circumstances apply and, if they do not, to determine the amount of reasonable and necessary attorneys' fees. View "Romain v. Walters" on Justia Law