Phoenix--Today the City of Phoenix and CityNorth lost their requests asking the Goldwater Institute to pay attorneys fees in its case challenging a $100 million subsidy to the developer of the CityNorth shopping mall.
The City and CityNorth asserted various claims in an attempt to win some $600,000 in attorneys fees from the Goldwater Institute. Maricopa County Judge Robert Miles denied every claim, saying an award of fees would be inappropriate.
This issue is almost as important as the lawsuit itself, said Clint Bolick, director of the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation. An attorneys fees award could have destroyed the ability of citizens to challenge unconstitutional government action.
Last month the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest (ACLPI), the Institute for Justice, the Center for Arizona Policy, the Arizona Tax Research Foundation, the Free Enterprise Club Political Action Committee, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Goldwater Institute. ACLPI attorney Tim Hogan argued in the brief that an attorneys fees award would have a "chilling effect" on public interest litigation of all types.
Judge Miles referenced that point several times throughout todays argument and used it as part of his rationale for denying the fee requests.
The Goldwater Institute lost the opening round of its case in April and has already appealed to the Arizona Court of Appeals. The Goldwater Institute will pay costs associated with court filings, a standard practice, which amount to about $3,500.
The Goldwater Institute is a research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.