Circuit Judge Chris Piazza has set a hearing Oct. 14 on requests for attorney fees in the case that led to Piazza’s ruling striking down state bans on same-sex marriage. The case wasn’t decided on appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which declared it moot after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling holding such marriage bans unconstitutional.
The case was filed by Cheryl Maples and Jack Wagoner of Little Rock shortly joined her on the case. The Wagoner firm has asked for $95,000 in fees and costs for the case in Piazza’s court. Maples has asked for $256,000 and an additional $85,000 on her appeal work. Both lawyers have asked for enhanced hourly rates in line with awards sometimes given in successful rights actions. But they’ve filed separate requests because Wagoner has indicated that Maples’ request was excessive, which she disputes. The state opposes all fees, but has also questioned the sufficiency of documentation for Maples’ earlier fee requests in a separate federal lawsuit in which Judge Kristine Baker also struck down the Arkansas bans. That decision was upheld by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Two federal fee requests are pending before Baker. Maples, who joined the federal case as a co-counsel a year after it was filed, asked for $16,400 in fees in December. This week, Wagoner’s firm, which filed the case in July 2013, asked for $49,700. Of that, $30,000 would reimburse costs and fees paid by the Arkansas Public Law Center, a nonprofit public interest group on whose board I sit.