Martin v Hadix, 98262

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtO'Connor
Citation144 L.Ed.2d 347,119 S.Ct. 1998,527 U.S. 343
Decision Date21 June 1999
Docket Number98262
Parties143 F.3d 246, affirmed in part and reversed in part. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES262 BILL MARTIN, DIRECTOR, MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., PETITIONERS v. EVERETT HADIX et al. ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT [

527 U.S. 343
119 S.Ct. 1998
144 L.Ed.2d 347


143 F.3d 246, affirmed in part and reversed in part.

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

No. 98 262

BILL MARTIN, DIRECTOR, MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., PETITIONERS
v.
EVERETT HADIX et al.

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

[June 21, 1999]

Justice O'Connor delivered the opinion of the Court.*

Section 803(d)(3) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA or Act), 110 Stat. 1321 66, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(d)(3) (1994 ed., Supp. II), places limits on the fees that may be awarded to attorneys who litigate prisoner lawsuits. We are asked to decide how this section applies to cases that were pending when the PLRA became effective on April 26, 1996. We conclude that §803(d)(3) limits attorney's fees with respect to postjudgment monitoring services performed after the PLRA's effective date but it does not so limit fees for postjudgment monitoring performed before the effective date.

I

The fee disputes before us arose out of two class action lawsuits challenging the conditions of confinement in the Michigan prison system. The first case, which we will call Glover, began in 1977 when a now-certified class of female prisoners filed suit under Rev. Stat. §1979, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1994 ed., Supp. II), in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The Glover plaintiffs alleged that the defendant prison officials had violated their rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by denying them access to vocational and educational opportunities that were available to male prisoners. They also claimed that the defendants had denied them their right of access to the courts. After a bench trial, the District Court found "[s]ignificant discrimination against the female prison population" in violation of the Equal Protection Clause, Glover v. Johnson, 478 F. Supp. 1075, 1083 (1979), and concluded that the defendants' policies had denied the Glover plaintiffs their right of meaningful access to the courts, id., at 1096 1097. In 1981, the District Court entered a "Final Order" detailing the specific actions to be undertaken by the defendants to remedy the constitutional violations. Glover v. Johnson, 510 F. Supp. 1019 (ED Mich.). One year later, the court found that the plaintiffs were "prevailing parties" and thus entitled to attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 (1994 ed. and Supp. II). Glover v. Johnson, Civ. Action No. 77 71229 (ED Mich., Feb. 2, 1982), App. 103a.

In 1985, the parties agreed to, and the District Court entered, an order providing that the plaintiffs were entitled to attorney's fees for postjudgment monitoring of the defendants' compliance with the court's remedial decrees. Glover v. Johnson, No. 77 71229 (ED Mich., Nov. 12, 1985), App. 125a (Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for System for Submission of Attorney Fee). This order also established the system for awarding monitoring fees that was in place when the present dispute arose. Under this system, the plaintiffs submit their fee requests on a semiannual basis, and the defendants then have 28 days to submit any objections to the requested award. The District Court resolves any disputes. Ibid. In an appeal from a subsequent dispute over the meaning of this order, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed that the plaintiffs were entitled to attorney's fees, at the prevailing market rate, for postjudgment monitoring. Glover v. Johnson, 934 F.2d 703, 715 716 (1991). The prevailing market rate has been adjusted over the years, but it is currently set at $150 per hour. See Hadix v. Johnson, 143 F.3d 246, 248 (CA6 1998) (describing facts of Glover).

The second case at issue here, Hadix, began in 1980. At that time, male prisoners at the State Prison of Southern Michigan, Central Complex (SPSM CC), filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan claiming that the conditions of their confinement at SPSM CC violated the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Five years later, the Hadix plaintiffs and the defendant prison officials entered into a consent decree to " 'assure the constitutionality' " of the conditions of confinement at SPSM CC. Hadix v. Johnson, 144 F.3d 925, 930 (CA6 1998) (quoting consent decree). The consent decree, which was approved by the District Court, addressed a variety of issues at SPSM CC, ranging from sanitation and safety to food service, mail, and access to the courts.

In November 1987, the District Court entered an order awarding attorney's fees to the Hadix plaintiffs for postjudgment monitoring of the defendants' compliance with the consent decree. Hadix v. Johnson, No. 80 CV 73581 (ED Mich., Nov. 19, 1987), App. 79a. Subsequently, the Hadix plaintiffs were awarded attorney's fees through a procedure similar to the procedure that had been established for the Glover plaintiffs: The plaintiffs submitted semiannual fee requests, the defendants filed timely objections to these requests, and the District Court resolved any disputes. The District Court set, and periodically adjusted, a specific market rate for the fee awards; by 1995, that rate was set at $150 per hour for lead counsel. See Hadix v. Johnson, 65 F.3d 532, 536 (CA6 1995).

Thus, by 1987, Glover and Hadix were on parallel paths. In both cases, the District Court had concluded that the plaintiffs were entitled to postjudgment monitoring fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 and the parties had established a system for awarding those fees on a semiannual basis. Moreover, in both cases, the District Court had established specific market rates for awarding fees. By the time the PLRA was enacted, the prevailing market rate in both cases had been set at $150 per hour.

The fee landscape changed with the passage of the PLRA on April 26, 1996. The PLRA, as its name suggests, contains numerous provisions governing the course of prison litigation in the federal courts. It provides, for example, limits on the availability of certain types of relief in such suits, see 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(2) (1994 ed., Supp. III), and for the termination of prospective relief orders after a limited time, §3626(b). The section of the PLRA at issue here, §803(d)(3), places a cap on the size of attorney's fees that may be awarded in prison litigation suits:

"(d) Attorney's fees

"(1) In any action brought by a prisoner who is confined to any jail, prison, or other correctional facility, in which attorney's fees are authorized under [42 U.S.C. § 1988], such fees shall not be awarded, except to the extent [authorized here].

. . . . .

"(3) No award of attorney's fees in an action described in paragraph (1) shall be based on an hourly rate greater than 150 percent of the hourly rate established under [18 U.S.C. § 3006A (1994 ed. and

Supp. III)], for payment of court-appointed counsel." §803(d), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(d) (1994 ed., Supp. II).

Court-appointed attorneys in the Eastern District of Michigan are compensated at a maximum rate of $75 per hour, and thus, under §803(d)(3), the PLRA fee cap for attorneys working on prison litigation suits translates into a maximum hourly rate of $112.50.

Questions involving the PLRA first arose in both Glover and Hadix with respect to fee requests for postjudgment monitoring performed before the PLRA was enacted. In both cases, in early 1996, the plaintiffs submitted fee requests for work performed during the last half of 1995. These requests were still pending when the PLRA became effective on April 26, 1996. In both cases, the District Court concluded that the PLRA fee cap did not limit attorney's fees for services performed in these cases prior to the effective date of the Act. Glover v. Johnson, Civ. Action No. 77 71229 (ED Mich., June 3, 1996), App. 148a; Hadix v. Johnson, Civ. Action No. 80 73581 (ED Mich., May 30, 1996), App. 91a. The Sixth Circuit affirmed this interpretation of the PLRA on appeal. Glover v. Johnson, 138 F.3d 229, 249 251 (1998); Hadix v. Johnson, 144 F.3d, at 946 948.

Fee requests next were filed in both Glover and Hadix for services performed between January 1, 1996, and June 30, 1996, a time period encompassing work performed both before and after the effective date of the PLRA. As relevant to this case, the defendant state prison officials argued that these fee requests were subject to the fee cap found in §803(d)(3) of the PLRA, and the District Court accepted this argument in part. In nearly identical orders issued in the two cases, the court reiterated its earlier conclusion that the PLRA does not limit fees for work performed before April 26, 1996, but concluded that the PLRA fee cap does limit fees for services performed after the effective date. Hadix v. Johnson, Case No. 80 73581 (ED Mich., Dec. 4, 1996), App. to Pet. for Cert. 27a; Glover v. Johnson, Case No. 77 71229 (ED Mich., Dec. 4, 1996), App. to Pet. for Cert. 33a.

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit consolidated the appeals from these orders, and, as relevant here, affirmed in part and reversed in part. Hadix v. Johnson, 143 F.3d 246 (1998). According to the Court of Appeals, the PLRA's fee limitation does not apply to fee requests such as those in Hadix and Glover that relate to cases that were pending on the date of enactment. If it were applied to pending cases, the court held, it would have an impermissible retroactive effect, regardless of when the work was performed. 143 F.3d, at 250 256.

The Court of Appeals' holding that the PLRA's attorney's fees provisions do not apply to pending cases is inconsistent with the holdings of other Circuits on these issues. For example, the Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and Ninth Circuits have held that §803(d) caps all fees that are ordered to be paid after the enactment of the PLRA, even when those fees compensate attorneys for work performed...

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  • McWhorter v. Dunn, Case No. 4:13-CV-02150-RDP
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • January 22, 2019
    ...filed after Act's effective date); Hightower v. Schofield, 365 F.3d 1008, 1013 (11th Cir. 2004) (same). See also Martin v. Hadix, 527 U.S. 343, 356 (1999) (discussing retroactivity of AEDPA amendments to § 2254). Cf. Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 327 (1997) (holding that AEDPA's amendments......
  • Al Bahlul v. United States, No. 11–1324.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 14, 2014
    ...694, 701, 120 S.Ct. 1795, 146 L.Ed.2d 727 (2000) (clear statement of intent overcomes presumption against retroactivity); Martin v. Hadix, 527 U.S. 343, 353–54, 119 S.Ct. 1998, 144 L.Ed.2d 347 (1999) (“ ‘unambiguous directive’ or ‘express command’ ” overcomes presumption against retroactivi......
  • Vartelas v. Holder, No. 10–1211.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 28, 2012
    ...event”) is the moment at which the party does what the statute forbids or fails to do what it requires. See Martin v. Hadix, 527 U.S. 343, 362–363, 119 S.Ct. 1998, 144 L.Ed.2d 347 (1999) (SCALIA, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment); Landgraf, supra, at 291, 114 S.Ct. 1483 (SC......
  • Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul v. United States, No. 11–1324.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 14, 2014
    ...694, 701, 120 S.Ct. 1795, 146 L.Ed.2d 727 (2000) (clear statement of intent overcomes presumption against retroactivity); Martin v. Hadix, 527 U.S. 343, 353–54, 119 S.Ct. 1998, 144 L.Ed.2d 347 (1999) (“ ‘unambiguous directive’ or ‘express command’ ” overcomes presumption against retroactivi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
275 cases
  • McWhorter v. Dunn, Case No. 4:13-CV-02150-RDP
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • January 22, 2019
    ...filed after Act's effective date); Hightower v. Schofield, 365 F.3d 1008, 1013 (11th Cir. 2004) (same). See also Martin v. Hadix, 527 U.S. 343, 356 (1999) (discussing retroactivity of AEDPA amendments to § 2254). Cf. Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 327 (1997) (holding that AEDPA's amendments......
  • Al Bahlul v. United States, No. 11–1324.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 14, 2014
    ...694, 701, 120 S.Ct. 1795, 146 L.Ed.2d 727 (2000) (clear statement of intent overcomes presumption against retroactivity); Martin v. Hadix, 527 U.S. 343, 353–54, 119 S.Ct. 1998, 144 L.Ed.2d 347 (1999) (“ ‘unambiguous directive’ or ‘express command’ ” overcomes presumption against retroactivi......
  • Vartelas v. Holder, No. 10–1211.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 28, 2012
    ...event”) is the moment at which the party does what the statute forbids or fails to do what it requires. See Martin v. Hadix, 527 U.S. 343, 362–363, 119 S.Ct. 1998, 144 L.Ed.2d 347 (1999) (SCALIA, J., concurring in part and concurring in judgment); Landgraf, supra, at 291, 114 S.Ct. 1483 (SC......
  • Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul v. United States, No. 11–1324.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • July 14, 2014
    ...694, 701, 120 S.Ct. 1795, 146 L.Ed.2d 727 (2000) (clear statement of intent overcomes presumption against retroactivity); Martin v. Hadix, 527 U.S. 343, 353–54, 119 S.Ct. 1998, 144 L.Ed.2d 347 (1999) (“ ‘unambiguous directive’ or ‘express command’ ” overcomes presumption against retroactivi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Report on the Prison Litigation Reform Act: What Have the Courts Decided so Far?
    • United States
    • Prison Journal, The Nbr. 84-3, September 2004
    • September 1, 2004
    ...F.3d 526 (7th Cir. 2002).Lucien v. DeTella,141 F.3d 773 (7th Cir. 1998).Madrid v. Gomez, 190 F.3d990 (9th Cir. 1999).Martin v. Hadix, 527 U.S. 343; 119 S. Ct. 1998; 144 L.Ed. 2d 347 (1999).Mason v. Schriro, 45 F.Supp. 2d 709 (W.D. Mo. 1999).McCarthy v. Madigan, 503 U.S. 140; 117 L.Ed 2d 291......

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