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Supreme Court Rules in Attorneys' Fees Case

In an important ruling on attorneys' fees, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held that judges can enhance attorneys' fees for superior performance--but only in "extraordinary circumstances."

According to the majority, the facts of the case before them did not meet that standard. In Perdue v. Kenny, trial lawyers helped lead a class of 3,000 Georgia children to a victory that would reform the state's foster care system. A federal district judge awarded those lawyers $6 million in attorneys' fees using the lodestar method (hours times local hourly market rate), and then added on a $4.5 million bonus for "extraordinary" results that the lawsuit achieved and for rare "skill, commitment, dedication and professionalism" on the part of the attorneys.

Associate Editor

Melissa Maleske

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