NEW ORLEANS — Lawyers who won a decision overturning a Louisiana abortion law say the state should pay them $4.7 million in fees and expenses.
Attorneys representing abortion clinics asked U.S. District Judge John deGravelles (duh-GRAV-uhlz) to approve the amount, and on Thursday, he gave the state’s lawyers three weeks to respond.
The law would have required doctors who perform abortions to have permission to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles (48 kilometers) of their clinic. DeGravelles said it was unconstitutional under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against a similar Texas law.
According to the motion filed Wednesday, 16 attorneys, clerks and paralegals put in nearly 6,900 hours of work over three years, at rates of $295 to $900 an hour. It all adds up to $4.5 million worth of work, plus $187,000 for expenses including travel, research, and shipping, the attorneys said.
Louisiana has filed notice that it plans to appeal deGravelles’ decision.
“Louisiana has already racked up a multimillion dollar bill in defense of their clinic shutdown law,” David Brown, senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press by a spokeswoman. “By continuing to defend this clearly unconstitutional law, they’ve all but guaranteed that number will continue to go up.”
The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Center for Reproductive Rights would get about $2 million of the legal fees, including $1.1 million for attorney Ilene Jaroslaw, and $16,200 of the expenses requested. Her co-lead counsel, Demme Doufekias of the Washington law firm of Morrison and Foerster would get $892,400, with that firm getting a total of $2.5 million in legal fees and $170,800 in expenses.
New Orleans attorney Bill Rittenberg would get about $28,400 in legal fees.
This story has been corrected to correct deGravelles’ title, from attorney to federal judge.