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Supreme Court to consider challenge to attorney's fees

The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] Tuesday in Marx v. General Revenue Corp. [docket; cert. petition, PDF] to determine whether a defendant may be awarded attorney's fees in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) [15 USC § 1692 text, PDF] where the plaintiff brought the lawsuit in good faith. The FDCPA allows a court to award attorney's fees "[o]n a finding by the court that [the] action...was brought in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment," while the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) allow such an award "[u]nless a federal statute...provides otherwise." The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld the award of damages [opinion, PDF], finding it was justified under the FDCPA and the FRCP.

Also on Tuesday, the court issued a per curiam opinion [text, PDF] in Coleman v. Johnson [docket; cert. petition, PDF] upholding the conviction of Lorenzo Johnson as an accomplice and co-conspirator to murder, and overturning the decision below. Johnson argued there was not sufficient evidence to support his conviction, and that the conviction violated his right to due process. The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled [opinion] that there was not sufficient evidence that Johnson intended to participate in the crime.

The court also declined to hear a series of cases addressing the authority of officers to use "tasers" against suspects. The court declined to hear Daman v. Brooks [docket; cert petition, PDF], Agarano v. Mattos [docket; cert petition, PDF], Brooks v. Daman [docket; cert petition, PDF], and Mattos v. Agarano [docket; cert petition, PDF], all of which deal with police authority to use "tase" suspects in particular situations. The court's denial preserves inconsistent standards set by appeals courts throughout the country.

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