Blanchard v. Bergeron Case Brief

Facts of the Case

“After a jury awarded Petitioner Arthur J. Blanchard $10,000 in damages on his claim that respondent Sheriff’s Deputy James Bergeron had beaten him and thereby deprived him of his civil rights under, the Federal District Court awarded him $7,500 in attorney’s fees under, which provides that the court, “in its discretion, may allow . . . a reasonable attorney’s fee” to a prevailing party in certain federal civil rights actions, including those under. The Court of Appeals reduced the fee award to $4,000, ruling that Blanchard’s 40% contingent-fee arrangement with his lawyer served as a cap on the amount of fees that could be awarded. The court also found that hours billed for the time of law clerks and paralegals were not compensable since they would be included within the contingency fee.”


“Does property forfeiture under RICO as punishment for the distribution of obscene materials constitute ‘prior restraint’ on speech in violation of the First Amendment?Does the forfeiture of a business as punishment for the sale of obscene media constitute an ‘excessive fine’?”



Case Information

Citation: 489 US 87 (1989)
Argued: Nov 28, 1988
Decided: Feb 21, 1989
Case Brief: 1989