Federal Judge Kristine Baker entered an order Friday awarding a total of $19,950 in attorney fees in the federal case that successfully challenged the state ban on same sex marriage.
Baker’s award substantially reduced the amounts sought by the lawyers.
Baker awarded $18,360 to Jack Wagoner and members of his firm and $1,590 to Cheryl Maples, who joined the case late in its development. Wagoner had sought $49,754 and Maples had sought $16,411. Baker said they hadn’t submitted sufficient evidence for hours submitted and the hourly rates claimed and also said some hours claimed amounted to duplicative effort. She pegged rates of pay to Wagoner’s agreement to work at a reduced rate of $100 an hour in an arrangement with the Arkansas Public Law Center, a nonprofit that agreed to help support the case.
I’m a member of the board of the Public Law Center.
The judge said said that arrangement amounted to a way to gauge the market value of his work. You can read the judge’s full order at the PDF link:
The state had argued against payment of any fees, contending the requests weren’t timely. Baker said the late filings for fees were excusable given he various developments in the case. Wagoner, for example, didn’t seek fees until after the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals had decided the case.
Maples and Wagoner were also attorneys on a successful state challenge of the case, which ultimately was never finally decided by the Arkansas Supreme Court. They earlier had been awarded in fees by the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals when it rejected the state’s appeal of Baker’s ruling following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality.
The court agreed with Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane that the state should be solely responsible for the fees, not other defendants such as himself because his actions were bound by state law.
The judge declined to get into a dispute that developed between Wagoner and Maples over work on the case. Maples had asked that the judge strike allegations by Wagoner that she had inflated her billings. The judge declined to do so, saying the filing was relevant to the issue.
The 8th Circuit had earlier awarded $7,463.75 in fees for Wagoner’s firm against the state in the federal case.
Circuit Judge Chris Piazza, who decided the separate state case against the marriage ban, awarded $66,000 in fees and expenses, slit equally between Wagoner and Maples.
In all, that put the state’s legal bill — not counting time and court expenses devoted by the attorney general’s staff — to $93,413.