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Old December 29, 2011, 03:22 PM   #1
kraigwy
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Important Court Ruling

WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia has been ordered to pay more than $1 million in attorneys' fees as a result of a historic gun case that was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world...y-1280320.html

Hopefully a warning, now that so many cities and states are broke, maybe this will make them set back and take notice.
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Old December 29, 2011, 04:25 PM   #2
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Thanks for the post kraigwy.

Although a million dollars is sooo menial for the history of abuse to the people and their 2nd Amend rights in places such as Washington, city's in New York,etc., at least it's something.

Can this decision be appealed?
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Old December 29, 2011, 04:52 PM   #3
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More taxpayer money down the drain, if DC ever pays up which they will no doubt drag their feet on to no end.

None the less yet a further victory in a fight against gun grabbers, hopefully this will make municipalities with already tight budgets think twice before they institute frivolous unconstitutional restrictions on the second amendment.
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Old December 29, 2011, 05:24 PM   #4
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Niiice!
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Old December 29, 2011, 05:58 PM   #5
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I hope Lisa Madigan is listening...

Illinois is already broke, I wonder how much of my tax bill will go to pay David Jensen?
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Old December 29, 2011, 06:01 PM   #6
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Here's the decision: https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin...?2003cv0213-86 It's 65 pages of the Judge mostly agreeing with D.C.

After almost 22 pages of discourse on what the opposing counsel wants as rates, the court makes this statement:

Quote:
Having carefully considered the parties’ arguments, the Court concludes that plaintiff has failed to provide the Court with sufficient evidence to support the extraordinary rates of $589/hour and $361/hour.
This sets the tone for what follows.

The court then proceeds to use the lowest rates (USAO Laffey) and awards Mr. Gura, Mr. Neily, Mr. Levy, Mr. Healy, Ms. Possessky a rate of $420/hr and awards Mr. Huff a rate of $275/hr. The court then opines that because Mr. Levy was not a practiced litigator, the court further reduced his fee by 25%, to $315/hr.

Now comes the matter of billable hours. Claimed by the plaintifs:
  • Mr. Gura: 1661 hrs.
  • Mr. Neily: 808.3 hrs.
  • Mr. Levy: 595.6 hrs.
  • Mr. Huff: 153.6 hrs.
  • Mr. Healy: 33.7 hrs.
  • Ms. Possessky: 18 hrs.
The court then reduces the hrs. of Neily, Levy and Healy by 10% as inaccurate or overbilling.

The court then reduces Mr. Levy's hrs by a further 25% for vague and inadequate descriptions of the preferred entries.

The court then strikes certain events/entries in plaintiffs billing as being non-compensable items. This amounts to 7.9 hrs not allowed.

The court then strikes 102.8 hrs from plaintiffs attorneys for time spent on the cross-petition to include the rest of the Parker plaintiffs. The court concludes that this was fractionable from the Heller litigation and not necessary for Heller's victory (Gura: 56.3 hrs; Neily: 27.3 hrs; Levy: 19.2 hrs).

So we end up with the following:
  • Alan Gura: 1577.2 hours x $420/hour = $662,424.00
  • Clark Neily: 700.2 hours x $420/hour = $294,084.00
  • Robert Levy: 320.7 hours x $315/hour = $101,020.50; and 77 hours x $157.50/hour = $12,127.50
  • Thomas Huff: 153.6 hours x $275/hour = $42,240.00
  • Gene Healy: 30.3 hours x $420/hour = $12,726.00
  • Laura Possessky: 18 hours x $420/hour = $7,560.00
For a total of $1,132,182.00 in attorney fees. Mr. Levy was also awarded $4,890.27 for reasonable expenses.

The Judge then declined any other enhancements, basically saying that the case was normal and not extraordinary in any way.

At this point, D.C. owes the money and it can now be charged legal interest (7.5% = .625% per month = ~$7K per month compounded) for every month that goes by without payment.
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Old December 29, 2011, 06:08 PM   #7
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Happy New Year!

This is a great way to end one year and usher in a new one. I hope other jurisdictions who can't read the plain English of Heller and MacDonald will pay heed.
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Old December 29, 2011, 07:26 PM   #8
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Other than being the most thorough, accurate and logical consideration, analysis, interpretation and application of the Second Amendment in the history of the only(?) nation which has such a law, Heller was not uncommon or extraordinary in any way.
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Old December 29, 2011, 07:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Illinois is already broke,
As are most States and Municipalities...... and the Fedgov ...... that hasn't stopped them from spending, has it?
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Old December 29, 2011, 11:29 PM   #10
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Illinois is almost as bad as California, last time I checked CPS(Chicago public schools) takes on average over a year to pay for certain things. In my line of work we simply refuse to directly deal with CPS, Financing them for a year plus for free. The CDB (Capitol Development Board) is almost as bad, bottom line we're broke! I just hope the broke-ness keeps states like Illinois from fighting losing legal battles and instead leads to compromise and the passage of good pro 2a legislation.
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Old December 29, 2011, 11:44 PM   #11
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The reduction of their hours and rate is pretty normal. One of the reasons attorneys bill what they do.
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Old December 30, 2011, 03:02 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortwave View Post
Can this decision be appealed?
According to an article from Fox News:

Quote:
A spokesman for the D.C. Office of the Attorney General said city lawyers were studying the opinion.
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Old December 30, 2011, 09:26 AM   #13
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That's a pretty stiff reduction. I know attorneys who are three years out of law school making as much as Mr. Huff and Mr. Levy just got paid for litigating a major constitutional issue from district court all the way to the Supreme Court.

Based on this 2010 study, the average billing rate for attorneys in D. C. is $600/hr for partners (Gura & Possessky) and $375/hr for associates. So Gura made about $180 per hour less than the average D.C. lawyer for his effort - and had to wait 3 years (after 7 years of litigation) to even get that.

The major plus is there aren't too many places where you can get 7.25% interest right now. If I were Gura, I'd be hoping the city took its sweet time paying that.
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Old December 30, 2011, 09:38 AM   #14
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Oh, I'd be betting that the District of Columbia will indeed take it's sweet time paying that bill...
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Old December 30, 2011, 10:01 AM   #15
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I believe Levy dropped millions of his own cash into the case to just to keep it going. The judge must have really been upset with him for winning.


Oh, well I guess DC will have to write some extra parking tickets and tow a few more cars next week. One million won't even dent a months worth of parking tickets ($50m between 1 JAN and 1 May in '11):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...fZJ_story.html
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Old December 30, 2011, 02:43 PM   #16
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This Judge got kicked in the teeth when he dismissed the suit and the D.C. Circuit overruled him. He got kicked again at the Supreme Court. This is his "pound of flesh."
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Old December 30, 2011, 04:51 PM   #17
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I wish public officials who write these ridiculous laws could be held personnally liable for the cost that have been incurred.
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Old December 30, 2011, 06:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
This Judge got kicked in the teeth when he dismissed the suit and the D.C. Circuit overruled him. He got kicked again at the Supreme Court. This is his "pound of flesh."
Judges are supposed to be above petty revenge. I guess not.

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Old December 31, 2011, 10:25 AM   #19
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I wonder if Gura et. al. can appeal this decision in order to try for full compensation for their expenses and fees?
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Old December 31, 2011, 11:01 AM   #20
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What does this do to Mr Gura's billable rate going forward? That might be the best reason to appeal it.
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Old December 31, 2011, 11:16 AM   #21
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The findings of fact (the various discrepancies in billing) probably can not be challenged. The judges discretionary actions in not applying any Loadstar enhancements are what may be appealed.

There is nothing ordinary about this case. It is a case that will be cited for the next 100 years. It took an amazing amount of determination and extraordinary litigation skill to bring this case to its victory.

It says something about these 6 attorneys that stuck to litigation when the defendants were going through attorneys like sand through a sieve. <-- This may not be an arguable point, yet it instructs us that nothing about this case was ordinary.

Also, consider what this determination will do for Gura's fees in the Chicago case.

I'm sure all of this is going through Alan Gura's mind, as he digests this order.
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Old December 31, 2011, 11:28 AM   #22
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DC will probably procure the money to pay this bill by taxing firearms sales or other specifically-firearms related fees.

You know they will.
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Old December 31, 2011, 11:44 AM   #23
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I think it's probably low on the list of priorities but it doesn't seem that exorbitant fees have been challenged or attacked legally.

New York City's fees for a handgun license cost as much as many pistols do. ($340.00. and $94.25 for fingerprints)

I have no idea what Chicago and Ilinois will eventually do - but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now we have to focus on getting a good carry law.
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Old December 31, 2011, 11:53 AM   #24
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Count, see Kwong, et al v. Bloomberg et al. for an attack on exorbitant fees (#40 in the 2A Cases Thread - post #3).
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Old December 31, 2011, 11:00 PM   #25
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^ wow, you got it all covered Al.

I know the courts go slowly (Moore v Madigan is killing me), but the Kwong case is from April
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