Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gura Appeals The Fee Award In The Heller Case

The Legal Times is reporting that Alan Gura and Clark Neily have filed notice of appeal with the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. They are appealing Judge Emmet Sullivan's award of only $1.17 million in fees for the Heller case.
Last December, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said Gura is entitled to $1.17 million in fees and nearly $4,900 in expenses. Sullivan rejected Gura’s request for more than $3.12 million in fees and expenses.

“Sensitive to the fact that the fees in this case will be paid by the taxpayers, this Court is left with the difficult task of closely scrutinizing plaintiff’s fee petition to determine what is fair, reasonable, and just compensation for the legal services of plaintiff’s attorneys,” Sullivan said in his decision.
Judge Sullivan in setting the lower hourly fee for the attorneys who represented Dick Heller and the rest of the original plaintiffs agreed with DC's contention that small firms should command lower fees than the mega-firms. He also rejected the contention of Alan Gura that a fee enhancement was due to the plaintiffs' attorney for "superior lawyering" saying, in part,
Finally, the Court is not persuaded that plaintiff’s success in this action was attributable to the superior lawyering of his counsel. As plaintiff is well aware, “superior results are relevant [to a request for a fee enhancement] only to the extent it can be shown that they are the result of superior attorney performance.” See Perdue, 130 S. Ct. at 1674. In this case, the Court finds that the lawyering on both sides was excellent. The Court therefore concludes that plaintiff has failed to present this Court with the specific evidence necessary to overcome the “strong presumption” that the lodestar figure is reasonable.
I guess winning only the second case that dealt directly with the Second Amendment and changing the course of Second Amendment jurisprudence in the process doesn't count.

By filing the appeal, Gura and Neily are seeking a second opinion as to the reasonableness of their request. While Gura was not available for comment, Clark Neily had this to say:
Neily said in an e-mail that "settlement discussions between the Heller’s legal team and the District of Columbia are ongoing, and we have filed our notice of appeal in order to preserve all available options."
I've always held the District of Columbia City Council were a bunch of cheap bastards in dragging out their payment to Alan Gura and the rest. And I think Judge Sullivan is dead wrong in his assessment that superior lawyering didn't win the case for Dick Heller.


  1. One thing I love throwing in the "collective right" dimwits' faces is the contention by a lawyer from the D.C. Attorney General's Office that minimal compensation for Gura and associates was justified because "decades of scholarly literature on the Second Amendment" support the individual rights interpretation (duh!), so it was no major feat for Gura to prevail in court.

    As you can imagine, CSGV refuses to respond to that.

  2. @Kurt: It doesn't fit the narrative so it is conveniently forgotten by Josh and Ladd.

  3. And that's another thing they don't seem to like being pointed out to them ;-).

  4. Petard, hoisted upon.

    Sooooo, their position was unsupportable but they chose to litigate anyway? Forget awarding Gura et al. more; the residents of DC should be looking at taking the award out of the Mayor and Councils' pay.