In a recent ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court disappointed–but only in part–prisoners’ lawyers seeking to avoid onerous caps on their fees.

In Martin v. Hadix, No. 98-262, a 7-2 high court held that the cap imposed by the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA) on fees awarded to attorneys who successfully litigate prison lawsuits applies only to legal services performed after the PLRA took effect in 1996. The justices’ decision reversed, in part, a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which had held that the cap would not apply to fee requests in cases pending on the date of the act’s enactment.

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