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City of Riverside v. Rivera

United States Supreme Court
477 U.S. 561 (1986)


Eight Chicano individuals (plaintiffs) sued the City of Riverside and 30 officers after officers used “unnecessary physical force” to break up a party the respondents attended. The jury returned 37 individual verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them $33,350 in damages. The plaintiffs sought $245,456.25 in attorney’s fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and the district court awarded this amount. The City of Riverside and the officers (defendants) appealed the award of attorney’s fees. The court of appeals upheld the award. The Supreme Court granted certiorari, vacated the court of appeals’ decision to uphold the award, and remanded the case to the district court where the record was carefully reexamined. The district court again awarded the same amount in attorney’s fees. The defendants appealed. The court of appeals again upheld the district court’s award, rejecting the argument that the amount of attorney’s fees was excessive because it exceeded the amount of damages recovered. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine reasonableness of the award.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)

Concurrence (Powell, J.)

Dissent (Burger, C.J.)

Dissent (Rehquist, J.)

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