City to pay $175K in legal costs for ACLU's successful suit against panhandling law
A successful challenge of a panhandling law by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine will cost the city of Portland $175,000 in legal expenses, in addition to the cost of defending the civil rights suit.
An agreement to pay this amount was filed Wednesday in federal court in Portland, the Portland Press Herald reports. Goodwin Procter litigated the case along with the ACLU.
City officials said the ordinance at issue, which was not enforced while the legal challenge was ongoing, was intended to protect panhandlers by barring them from a long-standing practice of seeking funds from motorists in street medians. However, the plaintiffs said the law unconstitutionally infringed on free-speech rights of panhandlers and other sign-holders.
A federal district court judge agreed with the plaintiffs, and so did the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Overall, the city is pleased that this matter is finally resolved so as to avoid any additional unnecessary protracted litigation,” a spokeswoman for Portland told the newspaper.