MI could be on the hook for another $2 million for defense of gay marriage ban

Gay-Michigan1-257x300Michigan may have to pay up to $2 million in legal fees related to the case that struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

The six attorneys who successfully challenged the ban want the state to reimburse them for their legal costs. They say they worked thousands of hours on the case – which was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

They are asking a federal judge to order the state to reimburse the costs.

The attorneys declined to comment publicly on the filing, and state officials – including Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office – did not return requests for comment.

But some legal analysts say they are not surprised by the filing or the amount the attorneys are seeking for reimbursement.

“They had to go through two appellate processes with significant time factors. And there were a whole slew of lawyers,” said Larry Dubin, an attorney and professor with the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

“It’s the nature of the case that makes it not surprising to me that it would be a very large figure that would be presented for reimbursement.”

Dubin says winning attorneys often recoup their legal fees – especially in cases that deal with civil rights. He says it makes it more likely attorneys will be willing to take such cases.

“There isn’t really a question here of whether attorney fees will be awarded. The question is, how much?”