March 25, 2014 4th Circuit published opinion

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v Propak Logistics, Inc.

After dismissing Commission’s Title VII complaint on laches grounds, the district court awarded Propak attorney fees ruling Commission’s case was effectively moot when filed. The panel, with one judge adding a separate concurrence, affirmed. It held that the district court did not clearly err in finding that, as of the time Commission filed its suit, there was no evidence that any person entitled to money damages had been found and there was no way to obtain injunctive relief as the facility at issue had been closed. Thus, there was no reasonable basis to bring the suit and the award was proper. The concurrence argued that the Commission is subject to the same standards as private plaintiffs, its behavior in this case was unacceptable and failing to award fees would effectively decapitate the fee provision.

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