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At issue in the final iteration of the long-running dispute in Northcross v. Board of Education of the Memphis City Schools (1979) was whether a federal trial court could award attorney fees and costs in a school desegregation case. More specifically, after the U.S. Supreme Court directed the school board to operate a unitary system in 1970, litigation continued. The dispute in this final round of litigation in Northcross involved an appeal to the Sixth Circuit over two fee awards at the end of the long, convoluted history of a hotly contested school desegregation case.

Facts of the Case

Northcross was originally filed in 1960, but a federal trial court in Tennessee dismissed the action. The Sixth Circuit reinstated the claim and remanded for development of a ...

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