This morning the Federal Circuit issued a nonprecedential opinion in a case appealed from the United States Court of Federal Claims. The opinion reviews a denial of a motion for attorney fees. Here is the introduction to the opinion.
Athey v. United States (Nonprecedential)
Plaintiffs appeal the United States Court of Federal Claims’ denial of their motion for attorney fees based on two provisions of the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412(b) and (d). Plaintiffs’ first basis for fees under § 2412(b) rests on an erroneous application of the common law “common fund” doctrine. We therefore affirm the trial court’s denial of fees on this basis. Regarding Plaintiffs’ second basis for fees under § 2412(d), the trial court weighed the Government’s conduct and found the Government’s overall position to have been “substantially justified” and accordingly denied attorney fees as a result. Our review of this issue on appeal is highly deferential. Because we discern no abuse of discretion in the trial court’s determination, we affirm on this basis as well.