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Attorney Fees Awarded in MCC Suit

Past issues of PLN have reported on repression and conditions at the Maximum Control Center (MCC) in Westville, IN and the legal challenges to those conditions as well as political struggle around it. The lawsuit was settled which resulted in numerous changes being made in the conditions of MCC prisoners, these conditions are set out in an appendix to this citation. After settlement the prisoners' attorneys moved for attorney fees which the Indiana DOC contested.

The Indiana Attorney General's office sought eight extensions of time to respond to the plaintiff's motion for attorney fees. The court denied the plaintiff's motion for default but ruled on the petition without the defendants' response. The court analyzed the current law on what party is considered to have "prevailed" in a settlement and concluded that the plaintiffs were the prevailing party due to the extensive changes that resulted from the litigation. Because the changes that resulted were not minimal the court held the plaintiffs were entitled to full attorney fees.

The court held that the requested fees of $200 per hour for each attorney was reasonable given the attorney's experience, skill and the rates charged in the Indiana legal market. The court granted the attorney fees requested in their entirety. This came to $301,229.83 for fees and expenses related to the litigation. The court expressed its annoyance at the fact that the fee petition had not been replied to by the AG's office despite a six month wait and eight extensions of time. See: Taifa v. Bayh, 868 F. Supp. 237 (ND IN 1994).

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Related legal case

Taifa v. Bayh

868 F.Supp. 237 Withdrawn for N.R.S. bound volume, 1994 WL 656695 (N.D.Ind.)


United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division.

Kataza TAIFA, Paul Komyatti, William Sampley, Mark S. Douglas, Aaron Isby,
Kevin Sandifer, James E. Shropshire, John Charles Cole, Jr., Preston Gardner,
Edward Broadus, James Thompson, Nolan McDandal, Robert Smith, Robert Jenkins,
Richard Mumford, Tillman Morris, Michael Hegwood, Terrence Drain, Eric Malone,
Michael Holland, Albert Estep, and Roosevelt Williams, Plaintiffs,

v.

Evan BAYH, in his individual and official capacity as Governor of the State of
Indiana, James E. Aiken, in his individual and official capacity as
Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction, Norman G. Owens, in his
individual and official capacity as Director of the Classification Division of
the Indiana Department of Correction; John Nunn, in his individual and
official capacity as Deputy Commissioner of Operations of the Department of
Correction, and Charles E. Wright, in his individual and official capacity as
Director of the Maximum Control Complex of the Indiana Department of
Correction, Defendants.

No. 3:92cv0429AS.

Sept. 9, 1994.

*1 Editor's Note: The opinion of the United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division, in Taifa v. Bayh, published in the advance sheet at this citation, 868 F.Supp. 237-244, was withdrawn from the bound volume because the order was vacated December 22, 1994.

ORDER VACATING ORDER OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1994
The Plaintiffs and Defendants, by counsel, having jointly moved the Court to vacate its Order of September 9, 1994, regarding attorneys' fees and expenses herein, and the Court being duly advised, the Court now makes the following findings:

1. The Order of September 9, 1994, granted the Plaintiffs' Petition for Attorneys' Fees and Expenses filed on March 1, 1994.

2. Defendants moved to set aside the September 9 Order. The Court granted that motion but later reinstated the Order and referred Defendants' motion to set aside to Magistrate Judge Roger B. Cosbey.

3. In a Report and Recommendation dated November 30, 1994, Magistrate Judge Cosbey recommended that Defendants' motion to set aside the September 9 Order be granted and that the Order be vacated.

4. The parties report that, prior to the expiration of the time to object to the Report and Recommendation, they have now agreed to settle Plaintiffs' claims for fees and expenses set forth in their Petition, and that said Petition is withdrawn as moot.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the parties' Motion to Vacate is hereby GRANTED; the Court's Order of September 9, 1994, is hereby VACATED and declared a nullity and of no further force and effect; and the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Cosbey is likewise VACATED as moot.

868 F.Supp. 237 Withdrawn for N.R.S. bound volume, 1994 WL 656695 (N.D.Ind.)

END OF DOCUMENT

 

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