However, Plaintiffs’ Answering Brief On The Merits Fee Request Was Properly Denied.
In Ortega v. USA/Maricopa County/Sheridan, No. 16-16663 (9th Cir. Jan. 4, 2018) (published), Plaintiffs obtained an injunction against Maricopa County in a civil rights case. Mr. Sheridan, a now-retired employee of Maricopa County, appealed from a district court’s finding that he committed civil contempt by disobeying the injunction. The Ninth Circuit granted plaintiffs’ motion to dismiss the appeal based on Mr. Sheridan’s lack of standing. Based thereon, the appellate court granted fee recovery for time spent by Plaintiffs in moving to dismiss, determining that even non-parties can be liable for fees when they insert themselves into litigation by appealing determinations to clear their names. However, with respect to fee requests geared to Plaintiffs’ preparation of the answering brief, that was denied because no one succeeded on the merits. The matter was remanded to have the Appellate Commissioner calculate fees and non-taxable costs to Plaintiffs with respect to work on the appeal motion to dismiss efforts.