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Cost of Arlington County’s HOT-Lanes Litigation

Scott McCaffrey of the Arlington Sun Gazette posted a story online today that discusses just how expensive litigation can get when outside attorneys are involved. According to McCaffrey, who obtained the information through a FOIA request to the county:”

“The county government is racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to pursue its lawsuit against the federal and state governments over high-occupancy-toll (HOT) lanes on Interstates 95 and 395.

“A Washington, D.C., law firm already has invoiced the county with bills of $10,414 in June, $47,090 in July, $153,184 in August and $78,196 in September, according to documents released to the Sun Gazette under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

“The county government’s agreement with the law firm Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP calls for payments of $405 per hour for work done by senior attorneys, $270 per hour for junior attorneys and $150 per hour for paralegals and legal assistants, plus costs associated with the litigation.”

ACTA’s president, Tim Wise, was quoted in the rather lengthy story:

“Tim Wise, president of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association, said County Board members must have been drinking “a strange brand of Kool-Aid” when the(y) decided to move forward with the litigation.

“We are facing a $50 million budget shortfall, and these guys are playing games,” Wise said. He said the entire lawsuit appeared to him to be “a crapshoot.”

In addition, McCaffrey’s story has drawn what seems an inordinate number of reader comments, most of which are worth reading.

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