Not only did Alan Gura have to fight the District of Columbia over the Second Amendment, now he is having to fight them in an effort to get paid for his efforts in the Heller case. The Legal Times Blog is reporting that the District of Columbia is balking over the bill submitted to the District Court by Gura. Basing his bill for fees on the prevailing market rates for complex Federal litigation, he submitted a request for $3.13 million to Judge Emmet Sullivan. This was for over 3,000 hours of billable time for six attorneys including himself.
The District has countered that they should only have to pay $722,000.
Samuel Kaplan of the District’s Office of the Attorney General argued the plaintiffs’ team had failed to prove why they should receive compensation on par with major law firms in the District. Kaplan called the gun litigation complicated but not complex, a term he reserved for class actions.
Kaplan said Gura’s team did not build the case from scratch, relying instead on what he called decades of scholarly literature on the Second Amendment.
It takes a lot of gall to say the premier case establishing the Second Amendment as an individual right is merely complicated but not complex which is a designation that the District’s attorneys reserve for the cases brought by the bottom-dwelling plaintiff’s attorneys for stuff like cigarette smoking and exposure to asbestos.
Judge Sullivan, according to this account, questioned whether he should take the District’s finances into account when considering Gura’s bill and how much he should be paid from the taxpayer’s money. Gura countered,
telling Sullivan he (Gura) should not be (in) a position that requires him to assess the city’s budget priorities. Sullivan should base his fee ruling on an objective analysis of market rates and performance, Gura said.
My humble suggestion to Judge Sullivan is that if he doesn’t want to use taxpayer money to pay Mr. Gura he should take it out of the assets and retirements of the so-called public officials who passed the handgun ban in the first place as well as those like former Mayor Adrian Fenty who kept enforcing the unconstitutional ban.
The bottom line is that it is well past time for the District of Columbia to stop being cheap bastards. You lost and we won. Now pay up.
UPDATE: After Mark C. made the comment below, I looked up Alan Gura’s motion for fees. You can find it here. It is brought under 42 USC 1988 as he surmised. If you want to know about the history of the Heller case, it is worth reading the few first pages.