Westlaw News

4th Circuit reverses attorney fee award in FLSA case

Federal judges can award attorneys’ fees under a rule of civil procedure designed to deter forum shopping and “vexatious” litigation, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday in a decision that revived a proposed wage-and-hour class action.

A unanimous three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that fees are available when the statute underlying the litigation provides for them or the lawsuit was “undertaken in bad faith, vexatiously, wantonly or for oppressive reasons.” But the panel found that fees were not warranted in Stella Andrews’ Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit against a North Carolina assisted care company because her conduct was not flagrant enough to trigger attorneys’ fees.

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