Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc. Case Brief

Facts of the Case

“After petitioner Fogerty’s successful defense of a copyright infringement action filed against him by respondent Fantasy, Inc., the District Court denied his motion for attorney’s fees pursuant to, which provides in relevant part that in such an action “the court may . . . award a reasonable attorney’s fee to the prevailing party as part of the costs.” The Court of Appeals affirmed, declining to abandon it’s “dual standard” for awardingfees — under which prevailing plaintiffs are generally awarded attorney’s fees as a matter of course, while defendants must show that the original suit was frivolous or brought in bad faith — in favor of the so-called “evenhanded” approach, in which no distinction is made between prevailing plaintiffs and prevailing defendants. Fogerty sought review of the judgment denying his motion for attorney’s fees.”


“When a vehicle is subject to a traffic stop, is a passenger in the vehicle “detained” for purposes of the Fourth Amendment?”


“Yes. In a unanimous opinion, the Court held that while attorney’s fees are awarded from time to time to prevailing defendants or plaintiffs, this practice is entirely subject to the deciding court’s discretion. Indeed, the Court observed, that the statute in question emphasizes such discretion by stating in relevant part that a court “may” award attorney’s fees. The Court concluded that such discretion is to be applied evenhandedly between victorious defendants and plaintiffs.”

Case Information

Citation: 510 US 517 (1994)
Argued: Dec 8, 1993
Decided: Mar 1, 1994
Case Brief: 1994