NEWMAN v. PIGGIE PARK ENTERPRISES

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
339
Petitioner 
Anne P. Newman, et al.
Respondent 
Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc., et al.
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Facts of the Case 

Petitioners, a group of African American restaurant patrons, sued Piggie Park Enterprises, which operated several area restaurants, and argued that they were denied service at these restaurants in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Act). The district court held that the Act did not cover drive-in restaurants, which several of the relevant restaurants were, and so only ordered an end to racial discrimination at the sandwich shop Piggie Park Enterprises operated. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed and held that racial discrimination at the drive-in restaurants should also be ended. The appellate court also held that the petitioners should be awarded attorney’s fees to the extent that the respondent’s arguments had been advances only “for the purpose of delay and not in good faith.”

Question 

Is the subjective standard the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit used to award damages appropriate under the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

Conclusion 
Decision: 8 votes for Newman, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title II

No. In a per curiam opinion, the Court held that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 included provisions for the awarding of attorney’s fees so that private plaintiffs could afford to sue to enforce rights that Congress clearly valued. Because the purpose of the attorney’s fees provision was to allow private plaintiffs to sue and not to punish defendants who deliberately advanced legally unsound arguments, the amount of fees should be assessed by an objective standard.

Justice Thurgood Marshall did not participate in the discussion or decision of this case.

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NEWMAN v. PIGGIE PARK ENTERPRISES. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 31 July 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1967/1967_339>.
NEWMAN v. PIGGIE PARK ENTERPRISES, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1967/1967_339 (last visited July 31, 2015).
"NEWMAN v. PIGGIE PARK ENTERPRISES," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed July 31, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1967/1967_339.