42 U.S.C. § 1988 : US Code - Section 1988: Proceedings in vindication of civil rights

    (a) Applicability of statutory and common law
      The jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters conferred on the
    district courts by the provisions of titles 13, 24, and 70 of the
    Revised Statutes for the protection of all persons in the United
    States in their civil rights, and for their vindication, shall be
    exercised and enforced in conformity with the laws of the United
    States, so far as such laws are suitable to carry the same into
    effect; but in all cases where they are not adapted to the object,
    or are deficient in the provisions necessary to furnish suitable
    remedies and punish offenses against law, the common law, as
    modified and changed by the constitution and statutes of the State
    wherein the court having jurisdiction of such civil or criminal
    cause is held, so far as the same is not inconsistent with the
    Constitution and laws of the United States, shall be extended to
    and govern the said courts in the trial and disposition of the
    cause, and, if it is of a criminal nature, in the infliction of
    punishment on the party found guilty.
    (b) Attorney's fees
      In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of sections
    1981, 1981a, 1982, 1983, 1985, and 1986 of this title, title IX of
    Public Law 92-318 [20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.], the Religious Freedom
    Restoration Act of 1993 [42 U.S.C. 2000bb et seq.], the Religious
    Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 [42 U.S.C.
    2000cc et seq.], title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [42
    U.S.C. 2000d et seq.], or section 13981 of this title, the court,
    in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the
    United States, a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs,
    except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an
    act or omission taken in such officer's judicial capacity such
    officer shall not be held liable for any costs, including
    attorney's fees, unless such action was clearly in excess of such
    officer's jurisdiction.
    (c) Expert fees
      In awarding an attorney's fee under subsection (b) of this
    section in any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of
    section 1981 or 1981a of this title, the court, in its discretion,
    may include expert fees as part of the attorney's fee.