The popular legal battle between the FBI and Apple has led to the FBI retracting its motion to compel Apple into providing assistance to gain access to an iPhone 5C used in a lethal terrorist attack (known as San Bernadino Shooting).

The court didn't issue a verdict, but the FBI appears to have simply stepped down and stopped its previous efforts in the courts against Apple.

Assuming Apple had to provide extensive legal resources over the past weeks to fight the demands made by the FBI, who now has to pay those bills?

I am asking since the FBI obviously created quite a distraction for Apple's day-to-day routine and given that they now simply retract their motion and reverted to a solution that would have actually had to be exhausted in the first place, shouldn't the FBI at least be responsible for any legal fees that it incurred?

As far as I understand the situation, they could have only asked Apple to comply if there really was no other option. Either the FBI didn't know about this alternative option earlier (unlikely, given they have been working with this third-party in the past) or they simply thought it was easier to force Apple to work for them.

In any case, it may be no problem for Apple to pay their legal bills, but what if the next time some small company, that can not afford huge legal bills, is asked the same thing of the FBI? It seems nobody is held responsible and I am surprised there may not be any consequences (even financial) for this?

Even though I focus on this specific case, it is probably a more general question regarding any other possible lawsuit:

Is the person initiating a legal battle required to pay the other parties bill, if he later just pulls out of the suit? (or would the other parties have to "counter-sue" and prove they did this sort-of thing intentionally (which will probably be pretty hard)?

  • 2
    In the USA, only in extreme cases, like when a court finds that the whole lawsuit was only done to harass, or to cause cost. – gnasher729 Mar 29 '16 at 14:36
  • @gnasher729 what about if you win a private suit - the other side won't have to pay the legal bills, either? – Chris Mar 30 '16 at 15:07

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