In plaintiffs' civil rights case against the members of the State Electoral Commission of Puerto Rico challenging the Commission's decision to print ballots in the November 2008 elections solely in Spanish, district court's judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and a permanent injunction compelling the Commission to print bi-lingual ballots is vacated and remanded where: 1) district court's judgment should be vacated because it was rendered moot by an independent, intervening act of legislation mandating the Commission to use bilingual ballots under Puerto Rican law; 2) plaintiffs were prevailing parties entitled to attorney's fees for the costs of the district court litigation notwithstanding the subsequent mootness; 3) district court did not abuse its discretion in reducing plaintiffs' award of attorney's fees; and 4) motion for substitution of parties by the defendant, former President of the Commission, is granted.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico
Decided November 19, 2009
Opinion by Lynch, Chief Judge
For Appellant: Noel S. González-Miranda, González Miranda & González Abella PSC
For Appellee: Eliezer Aldarondo Ortiz, Eliezer A. Aldarondo and Aldarondo & López Bras