Home » Blog » KBR Seeks Attorney Fees from Jamie Leigh Jones But Unlikely to Receive Fees

KBR is seeking attorney fees expended as defendant in the Jamie Leigh Jones suit against them after she lost the jury trial.  The rule in the Fifth Circuit and in Texas state court is that although the defendant is entitled to seek attorney fees when the plaintiff in a Title VII or state discrimination suit loses, the attorney fees are only granted in rare circumstances.  The Fifth Circuit has interpreted this statute by applying the federal  standard for Title VII cases that was adopted in Christiansburg Garment Co. v. EEOC, 434 U.S. 412, 420–22, 98 S. Ct. 694, 699–701, 54 L. Ed. 2d 648 (1978). See Pope v. MCI Telecomms. Corp., 937 F.2d 258, 267 (5th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 504 U.S. 916, 118 L. Ed. 2d 558, 112 S. Ct. 1956 (1992). Under Christiansburg, a district court has discretion to award attorney’s fees to a prevailing employer in an employment discrimination case, provided the plaintiff’s claims were frivolous, meritless, or unreasonable, or the plaintiff continued to litigate after it became clear that his claim was frivolous. Christiansburg, 434 U.S. at 421–22, 98 S. Ct. at 700–01. However, attorney’s fees are not appropriate simply because the plaintiff loses his case. Id. at 421, 98 S. Ct. at 700. Rather, to show that a lawsuit was without merit, the defendant must establish that the case was groundless or without foundation. Id.