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O'Hara v. Board of Education of Vocational School

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT


March 22, 1985

MARY O'HARA, APPELLANT-CROSS APPELLEE
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE VOCATIONAL SCHOOL IN THE COUNTY OF CAMDEN, APPELLEE-CROSS APPELLANT

On Appeal From the United States District Court For the District of New Jersey, (Civil No. 82-3267 - D.N.J.)

Before SEITZ, HUNTER, and MARIS, Circuit Judges.

Opinion OF THE COURT

Per Curiam

Mary O'Hara brought a Title VII action in the district court against defendant Board of Education of the Vocational School in the County of Camden. The district court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's claim. It denied defendant's motions for (1) attorney fees and costs and (2) an injunction barring plaintiff from filing new actions involving plaintiff's previous employment with the Board of Education.

Plaintiff appealed and challenges the entry of summary judgment primarily because she asserts that genuine issues of material fact exist in the record. We believe the opinion of the district court fully and correctly analyzed plaintiff's complaint and properly granted defendant summary judgment. O'Hara v. Board of Education, 590 F.Supp. 696 (D.C. N.J. 1984).

turning to defendant's motions, we conclude, although it is close, that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant's motion for an award of counsel fees. O'Hara v. Board of Education, supra.

On the other hand, we believe the denial of costs to the prevailing defendant in the district court was not consistent with a sound exercise of discretion. As we have held, costs are normally to be awarded to the prevailing party, even in Title VII actions, at least in the absence of an articulated reason in the particular case for deviating from the rule. See Crocker v. Boeing Co., 662 F.2d 975, 998 (3rd Cir. 1981); P. Mastrippolito and Sons v. Joseph, 692 F.2d 1384, 1388 (3rd Cir. 1982).

Since we can discover no reason in the record to deviate from the normal rule, on remand, the appropriate costs will be assessed against plaintiff on her complaint. The court is free, however, to make such adjustment, if any, as may be warranted by its denial of defendant's request for an injunction. See infra.

Finally, defendant asserts that the district court committed legal error in denying its motion to enjoin plaintiff from initiating law suits against the Board of Education arising out of her past employment relationship.*fn1 Since the decision on the request for an injunction involved the exercise of the discretionary power of the district court, we review for abuse of discretion. While this issue is not free from doubt, we cannot say on this record that there was an abuse of discretion. O'Hara v. Board of Education, supra.

The order of the district court will be affirmed except to the extent it denies district court costs to defendant. The order will be amended to provide for payment of costs to defendant in such amount as is deemed appropriate in the light of this opinion.

Costs in this court in No. 84-5544 will be taxed against appellant/cross appellee. [sic]

The parties shall bear their own costs in this court in No. 84-5555.


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