Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Union County pays $16,070.61 to Plaintiff's lawyer in OPRA case

On September 1, 2012, I posted a blog entry regarding a successful Open Public Records Act (OPRA) lawsuit by Cranford resident Tina Renna against the County of Union. At issue was the county's refusal to provide Renna with the home addresses of citizens who voluntarily signed up for a government newsletter.  I noted in that entry that the County had appealed the trial judge's order to both the Appellate Division and the Supreme Court.

Thereafter, I submitted a request for records relating to how much money, in total, the County paid in legal fees to both its own lawyer and Ms. Renna's lawyer.  The county advised me that since its attorney handled the matter "in-house" it paid no legal fees beyond the attorney's regular salary.  However, the County did disclose that it paid a total of $16,070.61 in attorney fees and costs to Walter M. Luers, who was Ms. Renna's attorney.

The documents the County provided, which are on-line here, show that Mr. Luers was paid $7,064 in costs and fees for winning the case at the trial level, of which he refunded $859.35 after the Appellate Division reversed the trial court's enhancement of his fee.  Mr. Luers was then paid $8,317.71 and $1,548.25 for defending Mr. Renna's success in the Appellate Division and the Supreme Court, respectively.



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