Civil Rights

Lawyer in School Webcam Spy Case Wants $418K in Legal Fees Now as Case Continues


A lawyer representing a teenage high school student and his family in a would-be class action over alleged illegal spying via school-district-issued laptop computer webcams says he can ill afford to continue with the high-profile civil rights case without being paid.

But because a federal judge has ordered the Lower Merion School District to stop using the webcams, as the federal lawsuit Mark Haltzman filed in February sought, his client is already a prevailing party in the ongoing Eastern District of Pennsylvania case, the attorney says in a court filing. Hence, he argues, the district should be required to ante up for the more than $418,850.60 he has already racked up in legal fees, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Much of that amount is for Haltzman’s own time, at a billable rate of $425 per hour.

Haltzman had expected to be paid out of a class action settlement, he tells the newspaper, but because the school district is now contesting the class action status of the case that issue could easily drag on for a year or so.

Attorney Henry Hockeimer Jr. represents the district. He tells the newspaper it hasn’t yet decided whether to oppose the request for payment of Haltzman’s fees.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Filing: School District Took Thousands of Pics of Students at Home Via Laptop Webcams”

ABAJournal.com: “Ballard Spahr Bill Near $750K in Ongoing School Laptop Webcam Case”

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