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Civil Procedure — attorney fees — supplemental jurisdiction

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//September 4, 2012//

Civil Procedure — attorney fees — supplemental jurisdiction

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//September 4, 2012//

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United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Civil Procedure — attorney fees — supplemental jurisdiction

In a Section 1983 action, the district court has supplemental jurisdiction over the quantum meruit claim of the prevailing plaintiff’s former attorneys.

“In our view, the court correctly concluded that it could exercise jurisdiction over this part of the dispute. Attorney’s fee disputes are closely enough related to the underlying litigation to be the basis for supplemental jurisdiction, even if other attorney-client disputes, such as malpractice actions, are not. See Abbott Laboratories v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., 290 F.3d 854, 858 (7th Cir. 2002) (recognizing that “supplemental jurisdiction has been capacious enough to include claims by or against third parties” such as claims about attorney’s fees); Clarion Corp. v. American Home Products Corp., 464 F.2d 444, 445 (7th Cir. 1972) (‘There is no question . . . that a Federal District Court may adjudicate the attorney’s fee question pursuant to the lien created by [a state] statute; the theory being that if the original action has a proper basis for Federal jurisdiction then any recovery achieved by that suit creates an attachable interest upon which the attorney may assert his claim for fees.’). In Matthews v. Homecomings Fin. Network, Inc., 264 F. App’x 536, 537-38 (7th Cir. 2008), a nonprecedential disposition, we noted that “because of a high degree of relatedness, supplemental jurisdiction extends to suits over attorney’s fees for work in underlying litigation that is already within the court’s jurisdiction.” The court in Matthews, as here, entertained the adjudication of a state law attorney’s lien and an alternative argument for recovery in quantum meruit. Id. at 539.”


11-2261 Elusta v. City of Chicago

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, St. Eve, J., Wood, J.


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