Prevailing Party Requirement in Hardt

Posted on November 11, 2010. Tags: ERISA

In the November issue of Best's Review, Frank N. Darras, the founding partner of DarrasLaw (link to site) in Ontario, California wrote an article, "Prevailing Party Not a Requirement" (pdf). The article discusses the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co.:

"In Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co., the Supreme Court held that an [ERISA] claimant need not be a "prevailing party" to be eligible for attorney's fees. Rather, a court may award fees as long as the claimant has achieved "some degree of success on the merits."

The article concludes:

"Under Hardt, claimants can argue that a remand order constitutes success in order to receive an award of attorney's fees. But the question of whether a remand alone, without more, constitutes sufficient success on the merits to justify an award of attorney's fees remains unclear."