ALABAMA: State Fights Marriage Battle Fees

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange has filed an objection to paying the “excessive” $200,000 in legal fees demanded by the attorneys who won same-sex marriage in his state. reports:

Instead, Mobile attorneys Christine Hernandez and David Kennedy – who sought a $275 hourly rate – should be reimbursed about $50,000, according to the filing. The state’s figure factors in a $150 hourly fee that it claims is more “reasonable” for lesser experienced attorneys working in a smaller practice. According to the filing, the lower hourly rate is justified because the two attorneys “did not have to reinvent the wheel.”

“The legal issues presented here may have been novel to this state, but they were not novel to the law, and Alabama’s marriage laws presented no unique issues that were not present in the marriage laws of other states,” the filing states. Subsequently, Kennedy wrote a scathing response that puts the burden of some of the costs on Strange’s office.

“After causing the litigation to be lengthier, fiercer, and ultimately more costly than necessary, Strange now asserts that Plaintiff’s counsel spent too much time working on this case,” Kennedy wrote in an Oct. 28 filing. “In other words, the losing party is criticizing how much time it took undersigned counsel to redress the unconstitutional discrimination against the Plaintiffs.”

Kennedy notes that the state’s own lawyers have presented a bill for $345,000.