On Attorney’s Fees in Second Amendment Cases

Countertop explains, in a comment, how attorneys fees are generally awarded, which suggests that the 1.1 million award to Alan Gura is actually pretty good, considering. But it was important to go after as much as possible. Not only to reward good work, but also, and perhaps more importantly, to discourage other municipalities from resisting our cause when we file lawsuits. I am hoping that the 1.1 million award here is sufficient to accomplish that, even though I would have been tickled pink by a higher amount. The best outcome upon a municipality or state receiving a Second Amendment suit is to fold immediately. We’ve seen that happen already, and I hope the award here will further those results.

9 thoughts on “On Attorney’s Fees in Second Amendment Cases”

  1. The only issue I have is that the officials of DC will not pay a dime of the fee, it will all come from the taxpayers.

    Now, if the officials responsible for infringing were held to USC 18 § 422 for the willful denial of Liberty under color of law, I’d be happy.

    We need to start putting the Enemies of Liberty in prison.


  2. I know, but how about: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or USC TITLE 18 § 241?

    Surely an attorney who is willing to challenge the paradigms could bring a suit under these existing statutes, couldn’t they?

    Until we can hold politicians and bureaucrats responsible, beyond simply the ballot box, we are in trouble.


    1. Generally speaking, public officials hold qualified immunity, and one of those qualifications to retain immunity is not having violated readily established precedent. The 2nd Amendment wasn’t included in that until Heller.

      I’m not sure that’s the right way to handle it, but it is what the law is now on the matter. The solution is probably what Florida is doing, which is enacting penalties for local politicians who pass firearms regulations in violation of preemption. That law is being challenged, currently, so it’ll be interesting to see where it ends up.

      When all this stuff is better established, it’ll be much much more common to use the federal civil rights statutes than it is now.

    1. It’s an interesting question as to whether the 14th Amendment would empower Congress to waive legislative immunity against state lawmakers. They certainly could waive it for DC apparatchiks, however, since Congress has plenary authority over DC constitutionally.

  3. DC would have preferred to pay $0. Their offer was probably as close to $0 as they could make without being held in contempt. So if you make DC’s offer equivalent to $0, then subtract it from $1.1MM, then the treasury paid practically no price at all.

    It should have been at least Gura’s figure, if not the sum total of all liquid and hard assets of DC.gov and every one of its current and former elected officials and employees. No amount is just, to compensate for the countless murders, rapes, and maimings committed with impunity due to DC.gov infringing the right to self-defense out of existence.

  4. @Kerodin:
    It is important that state officials retain at least a moderate amount of governmental immunity.
    Imagine how things would be if a police officer could be held liable for false imprisonment if he arrested the wrong person. Police officers are not paid enough to afford hiring attorneys or paying settlements to every person they wrongfully (or even rightfully) arrested.

    Same goes in this context, as well.
    Certainly we want some amount of governmental immunity in cases like these. The real question should be: how much?

  5. Fort Worth: Given the flagrant disregard for the general citizenry from law enforcement today and their political Masters, are we to perpetually suffer their every indignity simply because they hold a government position?

    What about the dead and wounded citizens who are killed in no-knock raids – at the wrong address? So, in some cases the city (taxpayers) pay a fine to the wronged, but do the bad actors go to prison?

    What about the bureaucrats who impose their will on citizens in the name of some regulation that is obviously unconstitutional?

    The examples are limitless, and far too frequent to be chalked up to simple mistakes. We need a bit more common sense back in the system, and many of the “mistakes” will cease.


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