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Chesny v. Marek

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
720 F.2d 474 (1983)


Alfred Chesny (plaintiff) filed a civil rights suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against three police officers including Marek (defendants) alleged to have caused the death of Chesny’s decedent. Pursuant to Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a rule rarely used, defendants made Chesny a pretrial settlement offer of $100,000. Chesny rejected the offer. He prevailed at trial for an award of $60,000. Rule 68 provides that if a timely settlement offer is rejected and the offeree subsequently receives a judgment that is less favorable than the offer, the offeree may not be compensated for “costs” incurred after the making of the offer. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988, which entitles a prevailing plaintiff in a civil rights suit to attorney’s fees, Chesny sought reimbursement of his fees. The trial court denied Chesny reimbursement of attorney’s fees incurred after the making of the settlement offer, holding that those fees were “costs” encompassed by Rule 68. Chesny appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)

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