Fifth Circuit Awards Attorneys’ Fees Against Department of Labor As Sanction For Prosecutorial Bad Faith
In a strongly worded and remarkable opinion, Gate Guard Services v. Thomas Perez, 14-40585-CV0, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, today ordered sanctions against the Department of Labor (DOL) for government misconduct, and remanded the case to the district court for an award to the private litigant of attorney’s fees because of the government’s “bad faith.” Writing for the unanimous Panel which included Judge Catharina Haynes and District Judge Marcia Crone, sitting by designation, Judge Edith Jones began:
It is often better to acknowledge an obvious mistake than defend it. When the government acknowledges mistakes, it preserves public trust and confidence. It can start to repair the damage done by erroneously, indeed vindictively, attempting to sanction an innocent business. Rather than acknowledge its mistakes, however, the government here chose to defend the indefensible in an indefensible manner. As a result, we impose attorneys’ fees in favor of Gate Guard as a sanction for the government’s bad faith. 28 U.S.C. § 2412(b).