November 5, 2012 United States Supreme Court opinion

Lefemine v Wideman

Lefemine held an antiabortion protest which included graphic pictures of fetuses. The sheriff ordered them removed and threatened arrest if they were not. Later, the sheriff told Lefemine that any similar display would result in the same treatment. Lefemine sued and obtained an injunction prohibiting the sheriff from threatening arrest in similar circumstances. However, the court refused to award attorney fees. The 4th circuit affirmed holding the injunction merely ordered the sheriff to obey the law and thus Lefemine was not a prevailing party. The Court reversed in a per curium opinion. It held that eh injunction altered the legal relationship between the parties in that the sheriff could no longer threaten arrest. Thus, Lefemine was a prevailing party. The case was remanded for further proceedings to determine if any other grounds exist to deny attorney fees. The opinion starts on page 7 of the linked pdf.

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