Case 17

Committee on Civic Rights of the Friends of the Newburyport Waterfront v. Romney, 518 F.2d 71 (1st Cir. 1975).

Plaintiffs sought to enjoin an urban renewal project funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pending review of the project by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). HUD completed the procedures set out in the Council's regulations implementing Section 106, and the district court dismissed the count as moot. Subsequently, plaintiffs sought costs and attorneys' fees from the local agency involved, arguing that the litigation resulted in public benefit and that NHPA represented a congressional policy dependent on enforcement by private attorneys general.

The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of costs and attorneys' fees, holding that in the absence of express statutory authorization for granting costs and fees, Federal courts may award costs and fees only in cases of bad faith or in which there is benefit to a limited class of special beneficiaries against whom the award is taxed. Here, there was no basis for an award under either of these exceptions, and NHPA did not provide for awards of fees. 518 F.2d at 72. [Ed. note: NHPA was amended in 1980 to provide for the award of attorney's fees and costs.]

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