Attorney Fees

$4.4M Legal Fees Sought in Texas Case that Brought Down DA

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A lawyer who won a $1.7 million settlement for two brothers in a high-profile Texas civil rights case that brought down the local DA is now seeking $4.4 million in attorney fees.

Lloyd Kelley says in his fee application that the county tried to defend an “indefensible” case concerning two men targeted by police after they took photos of a drug raid at a neighbor’s home, and then ran the meter by overstaffing it with as many as 15 lawyers at a time, reports the Houston Chronicle.

“If the government is willing to pay for 15 lawyers, then how much should they be required to pay at the end of the day when they’ve lost?” says Kelley. “In the last decade, courts have been very punitive about frivolous lawsuits, and they should be equally punitive about frivolous defenses.”

Harris County reportedly has agreed in principle to pay Kelley’s attorney fees, which will not be deducted from his clients’ settlement. However, Mike Stafford, the county attorney, says the county is questioning Kelley’s bill and will dispute many of his contentions.

Kelley’s fee application claims $2.2 million in standard fees—$2 million for his own work, $86,000 for a legal assistant, and $54,000 for another lawyer—which he asks the court to double in recognition of the difficulty and risk involved in the case. Kelley says he also had $130,000 in unreimbursed costs.

As discussed in an earlier post, the case Kelley pursued on behalf of Sean Carlos Ibarra, 37, and Erik Adam Ibarra, 28, led to the resignation of District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal after a discovery request revealed romantic messages he had reportedly sent to his secretary and other embarrassing personal e-mails.

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