On Friday in Loudoun County, Circuit Court Judge Paul Sheridan granted a motion by Eugene Delgaudio’s lawyer to reimburse his legal fees in defending Delgaudio against a recall petition brought by Loudoun County democrats, attorney John Flannery, former Supervisor Stevens Miller and his wife, the DoorBell Queen, Liz Miller. We previously wrote about the case here. Judge Sheridan’s only concern was the amount requested was too low. From Leesburg Today :
Sheridan did raise questions about King’s request, noting the fees charged were lower than expected and at an attorney rate less than he sees in other similar cases. “I think it is utterly clear that it is reasonable to the penny,” Sheridan said.
In his motion King stated he billed Delgaudio—ultimately the county government—at a discounted rate of $250 per hour, down from his usual $300 per hour. The motion also called attention to a 2012 case in which John Flannery, the attorney who interceded in the case to represent those who filled the petition, was awarded a $54,000 reimbursement for defending the county’s Board of Equalization, billed at a rate of $400 per hour.
John Flannery has quite a record for costing the taxpayers money, but he’s a democrat, so it’s no surprise that he doesn’t care how much he costs the people of Loudoun county.
Earlier last week Delgaudio’s attorney, Charles King, explained why the county will pay his fees and not the democrats who brought the frivolous action to the court. From Loudoun Times:
King said: “I’ve been asked: Why can’t the petitioners, not the taxpayers, be ordered to pay Supervisor Delgaudio’s legal fees? The answer is the Virginia Code grants immunity to the signers of a removal petition from being ordered to pay fees. By statute, the body in which the official serves must pay any fees ordered.”
Thanks Loudoun democrats!
UPDATE from Paul A. Prados: The attorneys’ fees granted in this case appeared excessive to me until I looked at the actual docket from the Virginia Courts website. After speaking with Charles King, it is obvious the expenses for this litigation were exacerbated by the decisions of Flannery and the Millers [“Petitioners”]. This type of case, once filed, is taken over by a governmental prosecutor, in this instance Arlington Democratic Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos.
Petitioners moved three times to intervene and take over as the prosecutors in this case, and were denied each time. Depositions occurred, and at one point Sup. DelGaudio had to seek emergency relief to bar Flannery from his deposition. Such relief was granted. Flannery’s motions sometimes totaled over 100 pages including attachments.
In my opinion, this matter could have been resolved earlier, and without significant expense had the Petitioners not interfered. Had this been resolved with minimal fuss early on Loudoun taxpayers would have paid far less, and Judge Sheridan may have even exercised his discretion to deny payment of fees.