Gay-Marriage High Court Attorneys Seek Fees Topping $1 Million

Sept. 15, 2015, 1:08 PM

Lawyers who brought the case resulting in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court gay-marriage decision in June are seeking more than $1 million in fees and expenses.

The lawyers say their request is reasonable because of the complexity of the case and the importance of the ruling, which legalized same-sex marriage across the nation, according to a court filing.

The lawyers are entitled to the fees because the claims were made under civil rights laws, Jennifer Branch, a Cincinnati lawyer for James Obergefell, said, according to Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Branch is one of nine lawyers seeking fees in the motion before U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black in Cincinnati federal court.

Defendants know that plaintiffs litigating civil rights claims will seek attorneys’ fees and take that into consideration in deciding whether to litigate, Branch said, according to Northeast Ohio Media.

The lawyers also asked Black for a 50 percent “enhancement” above their fees and expenses, saying their work was difficult and resulted in a landmark ruling that advanced marriage equality.

In addition to Branch, a private-practice lawyer, the motion seeks fees for James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union and Susan Sommer of Lambda Legal, who worked on the case.

The case is Obergefell v. Hodges, 13-cv-00501, U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio (Cincinnati).

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