Washington Law Review


Congress passed the Civil Rights Attorneys' Fees Awards Act of 1976 (the Fees Act) to provide fees sufficient to attract competent counsel for civil rights plaintiffs, and thereby to promote private enforcement of civil rights laws. Ten years later, in Meyer v. University of Washington, the Washington Supreme Court transformed the Fees Act into a shield for civil rights violators which will deter bona fide civil rights claims. This Note reviews the history of the Fees Act, critiques the Meyer court's analysis of the Act, and proposes alternate methods of evaluating claims of prevailing defendants. The Meyer court misinterpreted the Fees Act. Not only did the court use an inappropriate standard to evaluate an attorney fees claim, but also misapplied that standard.

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