Cases & Deals

Civil rights suit plaintiff pays Jones Day attorneys' fees in pro bono representation of community defendants

Client(s) Pamela D. Williams and the Northwest Neighborhood Alliance

As part of the settlement, Jones Day was awarded attorneys fees and expenses. The suit was filed on behalf of a large egg farm against Jones Day clients, Pamela Williams, a private citizen living next to the farm, and Northwest Neighborhood Alliance, the neighborhood association that she helped organize to oppose the development of additional large egg farms in the community.

The egg farm, part of a large multistate poultry operation, contended that Jones Day's clients conspired with the local township trustees to enact a fire code that allegedly inhibited the farm's expansion plans. On November 17, 2009, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted our clients' Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss finding both that the activities were protected by the First Amendment, and that the farm had failed to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983 or 42 U.S.C. §1985(3). Even though Jones Day represented its clients on a pro bono basis, our clients moved for attorneys' fees under 42 U.S.C. §1988, a statute that allows the prevailing parties in civil rights actions to receive fees. The egg farm appealed the trial court's decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. On October 31, 2011 the parties entered into a settlement under which the egg farm agreed to dismiss its appeal and to pay money to Jones Day's clients. Jones Day agreed to withdraw their motion for attorneys' fees.

After paying expenses in this case, the funds will be used to cover expenses in future Jones Day pro bono cases.