9th Circuit Cites Government Lawyers' Bad Faith in No-Fly Case
Terrorist No-Fly ListIbrahim, an engineering student at the time, was boarding a flight in San Francisco when the government intervened. FBI agent Kevin Kelley, who was interviewing Muslims as part of an "outreach program," said he accidentally placed Ibrahim on a no-fly list for terrorists. She was detained, later released, and denied re-entry into the country. She sued the Department of Homeland Security, but the government fought back even though it knew about the mistake. The case dragged on for eight years. Two days before trial, the government admitted the agent misread a form. "Once the government discovers that its litigation position is baseless, it may not continue to defend it," Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote for the majority.
Misread a FormThe appeals court said the government's lawyers "vigorously contested" their baseless position and "essentially double-downed over the course of the litigation with a no-holds barred" defense. Ibrahmin won her case, but appealed the trial court's award of attorney's fees. The judge gave them $419,987, based on a statutory amount of $125 per hour. The Ninth Circuit reversed that decision and remanded, saying the plaintiff's attorneys deserve the "vast majority" of their requested $3.6 million in fees. Related Resources:
SF Sues Pharma Companies for Opioid Epidemic (FindLaw's U.S. Ninth Circuit Blog)
Honey Badger Cares About Its Trademarks (FindLaw's U.S. Ninth Circuit Blog)
United States Ninth Circuit Cases (FindLaw's Cases & Codes)
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