Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Woods v. Cary (9th Cir. - July 17, 2013)

Judge Reinhardt writes an opinion holding that a statute that caps recoverable prisoner attorney fees at 150% of a monetary judgment does not apply to attorney fees on appeal.  Judge Murguia dissents.

Judge Reinhardt articulates lots of persuasive policy reasons why the cap should not apply on appeal. I think he's right.

But I think that the Congress that passed the statute would disagree.  And would be less nuanced than Judge Reinhardt in its distaste for lawsuits brought by prisoners.

I think that's also true of the Supreme Court.  Which I could easily see stepping in with an old-style summary per curium disposition that is the final word on this circuit split.  Putting -- for some of the justices -- Judge Reinhardt in his place.  Again.

That's a descriptive, not normative, judgment.  We'll see where this one goes.