A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Harris County to pay more than $1.4 million in legal fees to two brothers who won a record settlement resolving their wrongful arrest lawsuit.
In his ruling approving the attorneys’ fees Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt blamed Harris County for refusing to settle the case, even though it had been advised by its own legal expert to do so.
“The tragedy, in the court’s opinion, is that this vast expenditure of time on both sides was driven primarily by Harris County’s mindset that has proven impervious to the truth, even though that truth was presented more than 5,000 billable hours earlier,” Hoyt wrote.
Sounds like Judge Hoyt agreed with Kelley’s argument to some extent, but wasn’t willing to take it all the way to Kelley’s conclusion that the county deserved to be charged more as a way of imposing “punitive” damages.
Harris County also used 26 trial and appellate attorneys on the case, expending nearly $2.3 million in billable hours, when two to four attorneys would have been “more than sufficient,” Hoyt wrote.
“In part, this accounts for the factious tone of the litigation as experienced by the court and, as well, the absence of leadership in the handling of Harris County’s business,” he wrote.
Ouch. This case may be over, but with quotes like that out there, you can count on hearing about it again this fall.