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PALMER v. CITY OF CHICAGO
November 7, 1984
REUBEN PALMER, ET AL., SUBCLASS A PLAINTIFFS, AND EDWARD NEGRON, ET AL., SUBCLASS B PLAINTIFFS,
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
1. Interim fee payments may be ordered only
where a defendant's liability on the merits is
clearly established after full litigation. Here
the case has reached only the stage of a
preliminary injunction (ordered by this Court at
562 F. Supp. 1067), now on appeal.
2. If plaintiffs lose that pending appeal, they
will no longer be prevailing parties and thus no
longer entitled to attorneys' fees.
3. Immediate payment is barred by the consent
decree in Evans v. City of Chicago, No. 77 C 4119
and Baylark v. City of Chicago, No. 79 C 1939
(N.D.Ill. May 31, 1984) ("Evans-Baylark").
4. Plaintiffs' fees award is unenforceable
absent a determination under Fed.R.Civ.P.
("Rule") 54(b), and no such determination should
be made under the circumstances of this case.
For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order,
this Court finds none of City's objections persuasive and
therefore orders immediate payment.
Proper Grounds for Objection
City's first two objections are really a back-door effort to
obtain reconsideration of the Opinion. Each was disposed of
when this Court expressly determined (576 F. Supp. at 253-54)
plaintiffs were prevailing parties and were entitled to
attorneys' fees regardless of the outcome of the current
appeal or the rest of the litigation. There is no need to
repeat that analysis. This opinion therefore restricts its
1. whether immediate payment is barred by
2. whether a determination under Rule 54(b) is
a prerequisite to an order for immediate payment.
Nonapplicability of Evans-Baylark
Evans-Baylark has determined the sequence to be followed in
payment of tort judgments against City. It contains a provision
for attorneys' fees to be paid along with the judgments
themselves, but Judge Grady has specified that provision
applies only to attorneys' fees awarded in conjunction with
damage awards, adding (Decree I.2 n. *):
However, in cases which do not involve claims for
money damages, such as cases where only
injunctive or declaratory relief is sought,
payment of a fee award out of sequence would not
result in a preference of the attorney over the
client. While this court assumes that for
purposes of simplicity and uniformity attorneys
fees awards in cases not involving money damages
will ordinarily be paid in the same sequential
order established in this decree for tort
judgments, we nonetheless recognize that another
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