Tenth Circuit Urged to Overturn Attorneys’ Fees Award in Another Instance of Albuquerque’s Pattern of Citizen Intimidation
Today, in Han-Noggle v. City of Albuquerque, the Campaign Legal Center filed a motion to participate as amicus curiae and an accompanying amicus brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to partially reverse a district court decision awarding fees to the City of Albuquerque in a civil rights lawsuit. The brief clarifies the legal standards for awarding fees to prevailing civil rights defendants. The brief further emphasizes that the City of Albuquerque has pursued an abusive policy of liberally seeking fees against civil rights plaintiffs in order to discourage such suits, including, most notably, in Baca v. Berry, where the CLC represents individual citizens who the city has attempted to fine for seeking to vindicate their voting rights.
“The district court applied the wrong standard in awarding fees to the City of Albuquerque and the City now urges the Tenth Circuit to compound the district court’s error,” said Joshua Bone, the Legal Center attorney who argued before the Tenth Circuit in Baca. “This is not the first time that the City has sought to intimidate its own citizens in court by seeking to recover attorneys’ fees against civil rights plaintiffs. We hope that the Tenth Circuit will help bring this abuse of powers to an end by reversing the district court’s partial attorneys’ fees award and refusing the City’s invitation to further punish its own citizens.”
Currently the Legal Center represents four Albuquerque voters against the City of Albuquerque in Baca v. Berry, a voting rights case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Earlier this month the Legal Center filed a motion for sanctions against the city and its attorneys for pursuing a frivolous cross-appeal in bad faith. This cross-appeal had sought to force the voters to pay the city’s attorneys’ fees after they challenged a controversial city redistricting plan.
To read the Legal Center’s amicus brief, click here.
To read the Legal Center’s motion for sanctions in Baca, click here.