Davis seeks $930K worth of fees for plebiscite lawsuit
Arnold “Dave” Davis is seeking close to $1 million in attorneys’ fees and costs for a lawsuit he filed against the government of Guam six years ago for preventing him from participating in a plebiscite vote because he was a non-native inhabitant of the island.
In a motion for costs and attorneys’ fees filed in the District Court of Guam on Friday, Davis requested the court award him:
• $869,639.15 in attorneys’ fees;
• $51,063.95 in non-taxable expenses;
• $3,525 in expert fees; and
• $5,104.25 in taxable costs.
District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood entered a judgment on March 9 in favor of Davis, striking down Guam’s plebiscite law allowing only the island’s native inhabitants to vote for Guam’s future political status. The ruling stated that the law is considered race-based discrimination in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments.
In the decision, the judge barred the Guam Election Commission and government of Guam officials from implementing "any laws and regulations designed to enforce the plebiscite law, insofar as such enforcement would prevent or hinder plaintiff and other qualified voters who are not native inhabitants of Guam from registering for, and voting in, the political status plebiscite."
Davis has said he had a difficult time hiring an attorney on Guam to represent him, so he ended up getting primary legal representation from a stateside law firm.
“The political sensitivity of the case made it very difficult to find anyone on Guam willing to work on this case,” court documents state.
Entitled to fees and expenses
Because he prevailed, Davis argues he is entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees, a reasonable expert fee, and reasonable non-taxable expenses.
J. Christian Adams of the Election Law Center PLLC, Michael Rosman of the Center for Individual Rights, and Mun Su Park of the Law Offices of Park and Associates represented Davis, while Gibson Dunn represented Davis in the appeal after the initial dismissal of the lawsuit.
Rosman argued that the case required a “substantial” amount of work given the initial dismissal of his suit and the government’s “vigorous opposition.”
He said his client “fully vindicated” not only his own constitutional rights, but obtained an injunction that will aid many others – blacks, whites, Japanese, Filipinos, etc., a memorandum states.
“If the plebiscite moves forward, they will have a voice. If it does not, they will at least no longer be treated as disfavored citizens,” Rosman noted.
Davis’ lawyers said the litigation qualifies as “complex federal litigation” and have asked the court to award all of the attorneys’ fees, expert fees, non-taxable costs as well as Davis’ taxable costs that included fees paid for transcripts, to the court, witnesses, and the appeal.