Ollice Davis, Sr., Plaintiff-appellant, v. Thomas J. Mills, Etc., et al., Defendants-appellees, 777 F.2d 1524 (11th Cir. 1985)

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit - 777 F.2d 1524 (11th Cir. 1985) Dec. 12, 1985

Holland & Smith, William M. Holland, West Palm Beach, Fla., for plaintiff-appellant.

Richard L. Oftedal, Robert D. Moses, West Palm Beach, Fla., for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Before VANCE and HATCHETT, Circuit Judges, and SWYGERT* , Senior Circuit Judge.


This is an appeal from an award of attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 to a prevailing defendant in a civil rights case. Without making specific findings, the district court granted $10,000 attorney's fees plus $564.80 in costs to the defendant school board. The plaintiff now appeals.

Christiansburg Garment Co. v. E.E.O.C., 434 U.S. 412, 98 S. Ct. 694, 54 L. Ed. 2d 648 (1978), provides:

[A] plaintiff should not be assessed his opponent's attorney's fees unless a court finds that his claim was frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless, or that the plaintiff continued to litigate after it clearly became so.

The trial court's failure to make the specific findings required by the Christiansburg rule for award of attorney's fees to a prevailing defendant necessitates our vacation of its award. The case will be REMANDED to the district court for further proceedings including a hearing. We express no opinion as to whether fees should or should not be awarded to this defendant.



Honorable Luther M. Swygert, U.S. Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit, sitting by designation