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Poy v. Boutselis

352 F.3d 479 (2003)

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Poy v. Boutselis

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

352 F.3d 479 (2003)

Facts

After Phaly Poy (plaintiff) was barred from entering a club, Officer Boutselis (defendant) yelled at Poy to leave, forced him to the ground and sat on him, used handcuffs as brass knuckles to strike him on the head and above his eye, and then handcuffed him in a nonstandard position. Poy was transported to a police station and charged with multiple crimes, including assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. After a jury acquitted Poy of all criminal charges, Poy sued Boutselis, another officer present at the scene, the police chief, the city, and the club owner (defendants) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and various state claims. Ultimately, the civil jury found that Boutselis committed false arrest, used excessive force, and inflicted severe emotional distress on Poy and awarded Poy a total of over $31,000 in damages. After several hearings, the district court refused to grant Poy’s requested attorney’s fees of over $98,000. The district court cited several issues with the fee request: (1) Poy was not a prevailing party; (2) the requested fees were “plainly excessive,” even after the attorneys volunteered to reduce their fee requests by 10 percent, in that they included preparation for claims and against parties that were dismissed from the suit and they sometimes double-billed for their efforts; and (3) the attorneys made record-keeping errors. Poy appealed the denial of attorney’s fees.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Coffin, J.)

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