Heller Lawyers Defend $3.6M Fee Request with Strong Words and Italics
Posted Oct 14, 2008 11:22 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Lawyers who won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling finding a constitutional right to own guns for protection in the home are defending their request for attorney fees in a brief filled with strong wording and italics.
The legal team led by Alan Gura had sought $3.6 million in fees and costs for winning the case, District of Columbia v. Heller, Legal Times reports. Gura’s requested fees for his own work amounted to about $1.9 million for 1,661 hours of time, the story says.
Gura’s reply brief (PDF posted by Legal Times), filed last week, said the District of Columbia had likely spent millions of dollars defending the case while diminishing the work of Gura’s team.
“Defendants outrageously insist that prevailing plaintiff’s entire legal team, after nearly six years of litigation in three federal courts, is entitled to less than $800,000,” Gura’s brief says. “No person faintly knowledgeable with the practice of law could credibly claim that a case of this magnitude would be litigated in less than 1,000 hours by its lead counsel." The word “credibly” was italicized.
The brief labels “preposterous” defendants’ claim that the plaintiffs’ legal team spent too much time on the case, presumably to fulfill their long-term professional aspirations. “After six years of not being paid, counsel are to be paid now,” the brief says, italicizing the word “now.”