Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.


United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D

January 11, 1982


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.


Ferroslag*fn1 has moved for an award of attorney's fees against Chicago Regional Port District ("District"), essentially because this Court's June 4, 1981 memorandum opinion and order (the "Opinion") found District's Complaint so thoroughly devoid of merit.*fn2 For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, Ferroslag's motion is denied.

This Court need not pause long on the issues, for Ferroslag has incorrectly approached the matter as though the Court were free to exercise its "inherent power" to tax a party with fees on the basis most recently described in Roadway Express, Inc. v. Piper, 447 U.S. 752, 765-66, 100 S.Ct. 2455, 2463-64, 65 L.Ed.2d 488 (1980):

    Of course, the general rule in federal courts is
    that a litigant cannot recover his counsel fees. See
    Alyeska Pipeline Co. v. Wilderness Society, 421
    U.S., at 257, 95 S.Ct. at 1621. But that rule does
    not apply when the opposing party has acted in bad
    faith. In Alyeska, we acknowledged the "inherent
    power" of courts to

      "assess attorneys' fees for the `willful
      disobedience of a court order . . . as part of the
      fine to be levied on the defendant[,] Toledo Scale
      Co. v. Computing Scale Co., 261 U.S. 399, 426-28
      [48 S.Ct. 458, 465-66, 67 L.Ed. 719] (1923),'
      Fleischmann Distilling Corp. v. Maier Brewing
      Co., supra,  [386 U.S. 714] at 718 [87 S.Ct. 1404
      at 1407, 18 L.Ed.2d 475] or when the losing party
      has "acted in bad faith, vexatiously, wantonly, or
      for oppressive reasons. . . .' F. D. Rich Co. [v.
      United States ex rel. Industrial Lumber Co.],

      417 U.S. [116], at 129 [94 S.Ct. 2157, at 2165, 40
      L.Ed.2d 703] [(1974)] (citing Vaughan v.
      Atkinson, 369 U.S. 527 [82 S.Ct. 997, 8 L.Ed.2d
      88] (1962))." Id. 421 U.S. at 258-259, 95 S.Ct. at

    The bad-faith exception for the award of attorney's
    fees is not restricted to cases where the action is
    filed in bad faith. "`[B]ad faith' may be found, not
    only in the actions that led to the lawsuit, but
    also in the conduct of the litigation." Hall v.
    Cole, 412 U.S. 1, 15, 93 S.Ct. 1943, 1951, 36
    L.Ed.2d 702 (1973).

But this is a diversity case, and our Court of Appeals is among those that have made it plain (following Alyeska, 421 U.S. at 259 n.31, 95 S.Ct. at 1622 n.31) that Illinois not federal law provides the rule of decision.*fn3 As the Court said in Tryforos v. Icarian Development Co., 518 F.2d 1258, 1265 (7th Cir. 1975):

    On the other hand, the Supreme Court's recent
    decision in Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. v.
    Wilderness Society, 421 U.S. 240, 95 S.Ct. 1612, 44
    L.Ed.2d 141 n.31 (1975), requires us to reject
    appellees' position that we should look to federal
    law as authority for the award. Since this is a
    diversity case, the question of plaintiffs'
    liability for defendants' fees must be determined by
    the law of Illinois. Trust Co. of Chicago v.
    National Surety Corp., 177 F.2d 816, 818 (7th Cir.

Illinois law strictly limits the recoverability of attorneys' fees. As the Illinois Appellate Court put it in Qazi v. Ismail, 50 Ill. App.3d 271, 272-73, 7 Ill.Dec. 434, 364 N.E.2d 595, 596 (1st Dist. 1977):

    The well-established principle in this State is that
    attorney's fees and other costs of litigation are
    ordinarily not recoverable by the prevailing party
    unless specifically authorized by statute or
    contract [citing cases]. There is no common law
    principle allowing attorney's fees either as costs
    or damages [citing cases].

See also St. Joseph Hospital v. Corbetta Construction Co., Inc., 21 Ill. App.3d 925, 961, 316 N.E.2d 51, 76-77 (1st Dist. 1974), for a laundry list of cases so holding.

Accordingly this Court is without power to grant the relief sought by Ferroslag. Under the circumstances no view is expressed as to the manner in which the Court would have dealt with the issue were it exercising its inherent power in a federal question case. Ferroslag's motion must be and is denied.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.