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Harrisburg Coalition Against Ruining the Env't v. Volpe

Citation: 5 ELR 20012
No. No. 71-143 Civ., 381 F. Supp. 893/(M.D. Pa., 07/12/1974) Attorneys fees denied

Plaintiffs, who obtained a consent agreement changing the route of a planned highway so as to lessen intrusion on a park, did not confer a public benefit warranting an award of attorneys' fees under the private attorney general exception to the American Rule. Even if this were an appropriate case for an award of counsel fees, the state defendants are immunized by the Eleventh Amendment, and awards against the federal government are barred by 28 U.S.C. § 2412. Since the brunt of the litigation was aimed at the state and federal defendants, an award against the defendant city would be inequitable. The plaintiffs did, however, succeed in enjoining construction of the highway in an earlier phase of the litigation, and caused greater introspection on the part of the governmental agencies involved. An award of costs is therefore appropriate against the Department of Transportation. For the court's earlier decision, see 1 ELR 20237.

Counsel are listed at 1 ELR 20237.