On May 19th, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an unexciting if not actually boring decision on when a litigant in an employment discrimination lawsuit can be awarded its attorneys’ fees if it is the “prevailing party.”  In CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. EEOC, the Court ruled that the employer did not have to obtain a “ruling on the merits” (that the employee or the EEOC actually had a bogus claim) in order to be awarded $4 million in attorneys’ fees.  The employer had gotten the judge to dismiss the case because the EEOC had failed to investigate and conciliate the claims, not because the claims themselves were insufficient.  (Incidentally, an employee who is the prevailing party in a case is almost always granted its attorneys’ fees, but an employer is granted its fees only if it can show that the employee’s claim was “frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless.”)  The good news for the employer in the CRST case is that it won an award of $4 million in attorneys’ fees; the bad news is that it had racked up $4 million in attorneys’ fees, proving once again how important it is to head off problems and, if possible, to avoid litigation.