SOUTH CAROLINA: AG Alan Wilson Ordered To Pay Couple $135K In Legal Fees Over Marriage Battle

BOOM! The Associated Press reports:

A federal judge ordered South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson on Monday to pay more than $135,000 in legal fees for a couple who challenged the state ban on same-sex marriage. Wilson must reimburse seven attorneys a total of $130,600 for 390 hours of work, or nearly 90 percent of what they requested. Judge Richard Gergel also awarded them the full $4,700 they sought in other court costs and fees, according to court documents. Wilson’s office is reviewing the ruling to decide what to do next, spokesman Mark Powell said. It has 28 days to respond. Gergel called the hours spent on the case reasonable and necessary. Colleen Condon and her partner, Nichols Bleckley, sued last October to get a marriage license. At the time the case was filed, Gergel noted, South Carolina was the only state in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to still enforce its gay marriage ban after the court found a similar ban in Virginia unconstitutional.

Has any couple actually lost one of these battles? Readers?

  • StraightGrandmother

    “Wilson’s office is reviewing the ruling to decide what to do next, spokesman Mark Powell said.”
    I can help you with that since you seem so puzzled.

    Here is what you do next, you get out your checkbook.
    You’re welcome.

    • JT
    • gaymex

      Unfortunately it’s not even his checkbook. They don’t care about using taxpayers’ money. It’s nothing to them. If they had to actually put up 50 cents of their own money, they wouldn’t be taking these cases to court.

      • Todd20036

        Except it’s the tax payers they have to answer to when they ask how their money is being spent, and the answer is to pay for gay couples’ lawyers after the state impeded their basic civil rights.

        • HadenoughBS

          Yet the taxpayers apparently don’t care about this blatant abuse of how their money is spent since they keep electing this bigots to office. You get (and deserve) those you elect to oversee your lives AND your money. Stupidity does have its expensive down side.

      • StraightGrandmother

        Yeah, I know you are right. But hopefully it will come out of his department budget.

    • The Professor

      Yep. Bigotry doesn’t pay like it used to. As a matter of fact, it has gotten rather expensive.

  • Mark

    I’ve seen that look before. It’s definitely bunched panties.

    I’m hoping somebody whispers – or shouts – in his ear.. “told you so”.

  • Reality.Bites

    I can’t imagine any couple losing (which is not to say I know for a fact none have). This is a pretty clear-cut matter of legal procedure. You get sued, you lose, you have to pay costs. Because YOU WERE WRONG AND SHOULD HAVE NEVER CONTESTED THE SUIT.

    When you force someone to sue you, expect to pay.

    At the same time it’s important to remember that none of the couples involved are benefitting from this. They’re getting most of the lawyers’ costs paid, but their own costs for time off work, child care, expenses, etc. still come out of their own pockets.

    • CB

      Unlike the U.K., Canada and Hong Kong, it’s more rare than you might think to recover costs in an action. It’s one of the reasons we need tort reform in the U.S. because if the loser always paid, especially if the suit is determined to be frivolous (or some version of that), it would cut down on the number of cases filed. So even if the couples don’t benefit, this does set an encouraging precedent.

      • JustSayin’

        Here is rule 39 of the US Appellate Procedures

        https://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frap/rule_39

        If the appellants lose they pay costs, if appellant wins against the government , unless a law relevant to that case says otherwise, loser pays.

        The tort as it stands is fine, it is those extraneous provisions of a law that lawyers don’t like because they might not get paid.

        In this context what most people want tort reform to mean, and I don’t know if this is you, is that anyone can sue the government and even if they lose get their costs paid, which should never happen.

        In these state cases the governments lost at SCOTUS, almost all of them lost on original appeal, the states, as losers, have to pay costs.

  • TomF.

    I’d be extra pleased if the money had to come out of his own pocket.

    • ScottJL

      You can bet he wouldn’t have been defending the ban a long as he did if it were out of his own pocket, or any of these politicians who were against it for so long.

  • geoffalnutt

    What do these imbeciles expect when they break the law? Jeebee? Yeah, right.

    • noni

      They expect no accountability on their part.

      It’s a Republican trait.

      That’s why Republicans have always had “tort” reform on their Republican Party platform. They want to stop everyone from even filing a lawsuit against them to begin with let alone being held accountability when they are found liable.

  • Chris H.

    For a party that likes to moan and groan about spending, they sure like to spend money on legal fees and (lost) lawsuits.

    • bkmn

      Because it isn’t their money. They only care about budgets when they want to cut programs that help “those people.”

  • JT

    Speaking of troubles for teabaggers, Melissa Gilbert is running for Congress to unseat a Michigan bagger.

    Washington (CNN)-Actress Melissa Gilbert, who rose to fame playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on “Little House on the Prairie,” announced Monday she is running for Congress.

    Gilbert, a Democrat, is looking to unseat freshman Republican Rep. Mike Bishop of Michigan’s 8th congressional district.

    “Please join me in my fight for working families,” Gilbert tweeted Monday.

    “I’m running for Congress to make life a little easier for all the families
    who feel they have fallen through the cracks in today’s economy. I
    believe building a new economy is a team effort, and we need to bring
    fresh voices to the table to get the job done,” Gilbert writes on her
    campaign website.

  • Todd Isaac

    Exchanging money in the Temple of Justice is against my religious beliefs so I will not be paying.

  • Good, great to see another one of these pay-outs win the support of the court, well deserved for the legal teams that helped get us to where we are now.

  • SockMikey

    I haven’t found any cases where the plaintiff’s seeking reimbursement of legal fees have lost. (Still searching)

    I have found multiple accounts where plaintiffs have been awarded costs.

    Feeling the cost of loss in same-sex marriage suits (with Reuters Graph)
    http://blogs.reuters.com/data-dive/2015/04/17/feeling-the-cost-of-loss-in-same-sex-marriage-suits/

    Oklahoma – Judge awards nearly $300,000 in attorney fees in same-sex marriage case
    http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/courts/judge-awards-nearly-in-attorney-fees-in-same-sex-marriage/article_0704be29-0f05-506c-a1b7-0931818d68fd.html

    Idaho – to pay nearly $1M to plaintiffs for attorney fees in three cases
    http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/boise/2015/aug/10/idaho-pay-nearly-1m-plaintiffs-attorney-fees-three-cases/

    WV- US judge awards attorney fees in W.Va. gay marriage case
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/17/us-judge-awards-attorney-fees-in-wva-gay-marriage-/

    Indiana – Gay marriage challenges cost Indiana $1.4M in attorney fees
    http://www.elkharttruth.com/news/indiana/2015/05/25/Gay-marriage-challenge-cost-Indiana-1-4M-in-attorney-fees.html

    Utah – agrees to pay attorney fees in same-sex marriage benefits case
    http://www.sltrib.com/news/1872019-155/utah-agrees-to-pay-attorney-fees

    SD – Could Be On Hook For Legal Fees In Gay Marriage Case
    http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2015/07/02/sd-could-be-on-hook-for-legal-fees-in-gay-marriage-case/

    ND – Attorney to seek legal fees in ND gay marriage case
    http://kfgo.com/news/articles/2015/jul/03/attorney-to-seek-legal-fees-in-nd-gay-marriage-case/

    Alaska – Judge awards plaintiffs’ attorney fees in Alaska same-sex marriage lawsuit
    http://www.adn.com/article/20150415/judge-awards-plaintiffs-attorney-fees-alaska-same-sex-marriage-lawsuit

    Wisconsin Agrees to Largest Same-Sex Marriage Payout: $1M
    Read more: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202722000738/Wisconsin-Agrees-to-Largest-SameSex-Marriage-Payout-1M#ixzz3iVTbGXOy

    Michigan – loss in gay marriage fight could cost $2M
    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2015/07/25/gay-marriage-lawyers-want-state-pay-legal-fees/30677065/

    Arizona – U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick has approved the request of Shawn Aiken for more than $253,000 to cover the time and expenses in successfully contesting the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
    http://azdailysun.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/az-to-pay-in-legal-fees/article_89404587-2ac3-5da6-82da-d8f0b4084047.html

  • Ninja0980

    You want to know what to do next asshole?
    Admit defeat and pay up.

  • Auto Epitaph Dot Com

    In other good news out of Souf Cacky Lacky, reputed Texas organized crime boss (i.e. Republican governor) and closeted, gay, all-around Republican doofus pRick Perry doesn’t have sufficient campaign funds to pay his staff anymore. Oops! Adiós, MoFo.

  • LovesIrony

    your bigotry is not so cheap anymore, is it asshole?

  • bambinoitaliano

    If all the plaintiffs starts filling these lawsuits would that even deter these douche bags from defending their religiculous freedom?

  • Silver Badger

    The sad part is the money won’t be coming our of Mr. Wilson’s pocket.

  • Octavio

    Wilson’s office is reviewing the ruling to decide what to do next? Gosh, wouldn’t it be fun to be a fly on the wall in those “review” meetings. Can’t imagine that anyone might consider that THEY NEED TO PAY THE FUCKING FINES, LEGAL FEES AND APOLOGISE! Grrr%#&@!!rumble$%&@!

  • D. J.

    But we took down our racist flag! /s

  • RoFaWh

    What to do next?

    Pay the bill and stop yer bitchin’, you two year old. This is called “manning up”.

  • Frank Dash

    The judge needs to specify that the money comes from Wilson’s own pocket, since he arbitrarily and willfully misspent public funds.

  • EdA

    Great use of taxpayer money. Plus the cost of the state’s lawyers. And now they are contemplating wasting even more money appealing the ruling that they have to pay in the first place.

  • The governmental entities that really should have known better than to waste taxpayer dollars in their futile exercise, get to pay for the entire enchilada. This is justice.

  • billbear1961
  • Sporkfighter

    “Has any couple actually lost one of these battles?”

    They’ve lost years.