Supreme Court Review 2016/2017 TERM
SUNDAY, JUNE 25, 2017

Issue:  Criminal Due Process and Compensatory Sanctions

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger



In Int’l Union v. Bagwell, 512 U.S. 821 (1994), this Court ruled that sanctioned parties must be afforded the protections of criminal due process where sanctions are punitive, but not where they are compensatory. In this case, in a divided decision, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a $2.7 million sanction award imposed under inherent powers as a compensatory sanction. The majority held that sanctions can be compensatory even if the specific amount of sanctions is not directly caused by the alleged misconduct. The first question presented is: Is a federal court required to tailor compensatory civil sanctions imposed under inherent powers to harm directly caused by sanctionable misconduct when the court does not afford sanctioned parties the protections of criminal due process?


Decided April 18, 2017 HOLDING

When a federal court exercises its inherent authority to sanction bad-faith conduct by ordering a litigant to pay the other side’s legal fees, the award is limited to the fees the innocent party incurred solely because of the misconduct—or put another way, to the fees that party would not have incurred but for the bad faith.

Author image Justice Kagan
Author Kagan
Agree image Justice Alito
Agree Alito
Agree image Justice Ginsburg
Agree Ginsburg
Agree image Justice Kennedy
Agree Kennedy
Agree image Chief Justice Roberts
Agree Roberts
Agree image Justice Thomas
Agree Thomas
Agree image Justice Breyer
Agree Breyer
Agree image Justice Sotomayor
Agree Sotomayor
Recused image Justice Gorsuch
Recused Gorsuch

KAGAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which all other Members joined, except GORSUCH, J., who took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

Text of Opinion
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Argued January 10, 2017

On Behalf of Petitioner The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Pierre H. Bergeron, Washington, D. C.
On Behalf of Respondents Leroy Haeger, et al.
John J. Egbert, Phoenix, Ariz.
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Merit Briefs
Brief for Petitioner (pdf download)
Brief for Respondents (pdf download)
Reply Brief for Petitioners (pdf download)
Amicus Curiae Briefs
Brief for National Association of Manufacturers in Support of Petitioner (pdf download)
Brief for the American Bar Association in Support of Petitioners (pdf download)


Granted September 29, 2016

Certiorari Stage Documents
      Petition for Certiorari (pdf download)
Brief in Opposition (pdf download)
Petitioner's Reply (pdf download)


United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Decided July 20, 2015
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