Victorious Same-Sex Marriage Attorneys Sue Ohio for $1 Million

AP Photo/J Pat Carter
AP Photo/J Pat Carter

In the latest case of attorneys seeking reimbursement for representing plaintiffs in same-sex marriage legalization cases, the lawyers for the case that legalized same-sex marriage are suing Ohio for over $1 million in legal fees and expenses.

With even more chutzpah, the plaintiff’s attorneys in Obergefell v. Hodges are asking U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Black to grant them 50 percent enhancement over the $1,096,142.50 incurred in attorney’s fees, and $51,360.12 in expenses. The attorneys claim they are owed the enhancement because the case “resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision,” as well as “the results, the unpopularity of the case, and fee awards in other cases.”

The plaintiff’s legal team included lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. In their brief, they boasted, “Obergefell changed the lives of thousands of parents and their children throughout Ohio and the entire country. These extraordinary results were achieved through the superior work” of the case’s “lead attorneys.”

The Obergefell attorneys are following the July lead of plaintiffs’ attorneys in Michigan, who asked for $1,927,450 in fees in the case of DeBoer vs. Snyder; plaintiffs’ attorneys in Kentucky, who asked for $2 million; and plaintiffs’ attorneys in Texas in the case of DeLeon v. Perry, who filed a lawsuit on September 4 asking for $740,000 for their efforts.

Some laws permit plaintiffs who win lawsuits against the government to seek “reasonable” attorneys’ fees and costs.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s spokesman Dan Tierney said the DeWine’s office will consider the petition to recover legal fees, but Black will have to order the fee enhancement.

In August in South Carolina, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel forced the state’s attorney general to pay $135,276 in legal fees and costs to lawyers representing victorious same-sex marriage plaintiffs, stating: “This complete litigation victory has benefitted themselves and thousands of other same-sex couples in South Carolina. Plaintiffs’ success in this litigation weighs heavily in favor of a reasonable attorney fee award.”


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