November 3, 2015. Ten lawyers from five law firms spent well over 3,000 hours on three lawsuits to establish marriage equality in Ohio. In the cases of Obergefell v. Hodges, Henry v. Hodges, and Gibson v. Hodges, the legal team, which included attorneys from Gerhardstein & Branch, the ACLU, Lambda Legal, Newman & Meeks, and Cincinnati attorney Ellen Essig, won the right to marriage equality for LGBT couples in Ohio. After winning Obergefell and Henry at the trial court level, the State of Ohio appealed. The fees and expense’s increased dramatically because of the State’s appeal. This is a risk the State took because it knew that appealing increase their liability to pay legal fees. The marriage equality cases are constitutional cases seeking a court order, not money damages. In order to encourage attorneys to bring constitutional cases, if the defendant loses, the defendant pays the legal fees of the party whose constitutional rights were violated. In some constitutional cases the government concedes and does not defend its unconstitutional acts. Some states’ attorneys general chose not to defend marriage equality challenges to their state marriage bans. Ohio chose to defend, and as a result, bore the cost of losing. The attorneys in these cases filed a well-documented brief that explained the reasonableness of the time they put into the case. The State did not object and the Court granted the award of $1.3 million in fees and expenses to the entire team.

Related Posts