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On November 7, 2012, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Marx v. General Revenue Corp., which concerns the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The FDCPA authorizes a judge to award costs and reasonable attorneys fees to a defendant if the judge determines that the plaintiff brought his or her FDCPA lawsuit in bad faith and for the purpose of harassing the defendant. The question in Marx is whether, where there is no finding of bad faith, a prevailing defendant in an FDCPA case can nevertheless obtain an award of costs under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d), which generally allows an award of costs (but not attorneys’ fees) to a prevailing party in civil litigation “[u]nless a federal statute, these [federal] rules, or a court order provides otherwise.”
To discuss the case, we have Charles Keckler, who serves on the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation.