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Gahagan v. DOJ, No. 13-5526, 2017 WL 4168409 (E.D. La. Sept. 20, 2017) (Engelhardt, J.)


Gahagan v. DOJ, No. 13-5526, 2017 WL 4168409 (E.D. La. Sept. 20, 2017) (Engelhardt, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning plaintiff

Disposition:  Denying in part and granting in part plaintiff's motion for attorney fees and costs; awarding plaintiff $506.65 in costs

  • Attorney Fees:  "[T]he Court finds Plaintiff's requests for attorney's fees to be precluded, as a matter of law[.]"  "[T]he Court is compelled to conclude that attorney's fees are not available to a pro se plaintiff even if he or she is a licensed attorney-at-law."

"On other hand, however, the Court finds Plaintiff to be eligible for and entitled to an award of costs, as requested by him, in the amount of $506.65."  "The relief previously granted to Plaintiff in the form of additional details regarding the nature and scope of the searches that were conducted by the DOJ and ICE, along with the additional, more extensive searches ordered by the Court, satisfy the 'substantially prevailed' eligibility requirement."  "Further, given the record in this matter, the Court finds the relevant entitlement factors sufficiently weigh in Plaintiff's favor for purposes of a cost award."  The court explains that "the public's interests in the administration of justice and the availability of experienced immigration lawyers likewise were served by Plaintiff's pursuit of judicial relief relative to his FOIA request and by the Court's resulting directives."  Also, "the limited extent of DOJ's and ICE's initial search efforts were not reasonable under the circumstances presented here."

Court Decision Topic(s)
Attorney Fees
District Court opinions
Updated February 16, 2018