- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Plaintiffs who were successful in a federal lawsuit seeking to legalize same-sex marriage in Wyoming are now seeking to recover nearly $95,000 in attorney’s fees and costs.

Court rules allow winning plaintiffs to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees when their constitutional rights have been violated, said Qusair Mohamedbhai, the Denver attorney who argued the case.

In October 2014, U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl struck down Wyoming’s 100-year-old ban on gay marriage after federal courts in several other states had done the same.

“The state of Wyoming’s position against gay marriage was contrary to well-established (court action) and resulted in them being extraordinarily unwise stewards of taxpayers’ dollars,” Mohamedbhai told the Casper Star-Tribune (https://bit.ly/1Hz5itF).

The plaintiffs’ attorneys notified the court of their fees last month.

The state filed its response on March 12, arguing the fees are unreasonable because five to seven attorneys reviewed each pleading, which the state found excessive, and some billed for travel to Wyoming but did not participate in the hearing.

The state also asked the court to require Laramie County to pay half the reasonable costs because Clerk Debby Lathrop was a co-defendant.

Lathrop was forced into the case because the law was unclear and she was seeking guidance about whether to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, according to a motion filed by Laramie County attorneys.

The plaintiffs did not seek money from the county because Lathrop cooperated with them in a separate case, the county argued.

Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael declined to comment on why the state wants Laramie County to help pay.


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com

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