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Holy Cross v. Corps of Eng'rs

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20143
Nos. No. 03-370, (E.D. La., 05/30/2008) Attorneys fees granted

A district court held that a neighborhood association and environmental groups who succeeded on just one of their claims against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are entitled to attorneys fees and costs related to the entire litigation. Plaintiffs sought to enjoin the Corps from dredging, stirring up, releasing, and disposing of sediments at the Inner Harbor Navigational Canal in conjunction with a lock modernization project. The court held that the Corps failed to take a hard look at the project and enjoined the Corps from continuing with the project until it complied with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The plaintiffs then voluntarily dismissed their remaining claims. Because the plaintiffs' remaining claims were essentially mooted by plaintiffs' success on their claim for relief under NEPA, they are entitled to an award of fees for the hours reasonably expended on this litigation as a whole. In light of this finding, however, the court awarded fees and costs solely under the Equal Access to Justice Act, which caps the hourly rate for attorneys at $125 per hour. Consequently, the plaintiffs' request of $110,176.89 in fees and costs was lowered to $91,426.26.

[A prior decision in this litigation can be found at 36 ELR 20208.]