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Lefemine v. Wideman, 12-168

In plaintiffs' section 1983 suit against several police officers alleging that the prohibition of carrying pictures of aborted fetuses during their demonstrations violated their First Amendment rights, the Fourth Circuit's judgment affirming the district court's grant of plaintiffs' motion for a permanent injunction but denial of attorney's fees, on the ground that plaintiff is not a prevailing party because he did not secure monetary damages, is vacated and remanded where a plaintiff "prevails" when actual relief on the merits of his claim materially alters the legal relationship between the parties by modifying the defendant's behavior in a way that directly benefits the plaintiff. Here, the injunction ordered the defendant officials to change their behavior in a way that directly benefited the plaintiff.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 11/05/2012
  • Published 11/06/2012



  • United States Supreme Court


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