Perfect Harmony Men's Chorus celebrates the June 6 federal court ruling that found Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.
The state of Wisconsin has agreed to pay the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin $1.055 million in costs and attorneys’ fees associated with its representation of eight couples who successfully challenged the state’s same-sex marriage ban in federal court.
The ACLU filed a motion for attorneys’ fees on Dec. 12, 2014, about two months after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the case. That effectively let stand federal Judge Barbara Crabb’s ruling in June 2014 that found Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.
The ACLU argued in its brief that the state’s continued opposition to Crabb’s ruling drove up the costs of representation: “Defendants’ decisions to file multiple motions, conduct discovery, assert novel arguments, and frantically try to stop marriages from occurring increased the substantive and procedural complexity of plaintiffs’ counsels’ work in the trial court and the Court of Appeals, and thus the time required to competently prosecute the action.”
The state fought the request for attorneys’ fees in a February 9 court filing. In his brief, Attorney General Brad Schimel said the state opposed the plaintiffs’ motion for attorneys’ fee, costs and expenses in the amount of $1.25 million “primarily because their attorneys’ stratospheric claimed hourly rates grossly exceed the prevailing market rate for civil rights attorneys in the Western District of Wisconsin.”
But “pursuant to consultation between counsel for the parties,” the state agreed to pay the ACLU all but $195,000 of its original request. According to the agreement, the Department of Administration will cut the check for delivery to the ACLU.
Read the March 27, 2015 agreement below.