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Court Awards Trial Costs to Clinics

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, May 11, 2010

A follow-up to a news story we brought you earlier this year.

I just received this e-mail from Professor Carter White of the Civil Rights Clinic:

Subject: Court awards clinics costs for trial last year

Today U.S. District Judge William Alsup issued an order granting the Immigration and Civil Rights Clinics over $15,000 in litigation costs we incurred in connection with the case of Herbert Flores-Torres v. Eric Holder, Jr.  Last December, Judge Alsup granted a declaratory judgment that our client was a U.S. Citizen, and our client was released from immigration detention where he had been held for 3 years.

Today's order means that the federal government will have to reimburse the law school for over $11,000 in translation and interpreter fees.  The case required the court to interpret numerous provisions of statutory and constitutional law of El Salvador, many of which had to be translated on an expedited basis.   The court also awarded the clinics almost $4,000 in travel expenses for one of our expert witnesses, who traveled from El Salvador to San Francisco to give testimony on two occasions during the trial.  The court also awarded over $400 for transcript fees, to which the government had objected.

Judge Alsup's order denied the clinics' motion for attorney's fees, finding that the government's reliance on a prior decision of the Board of Immigration appeals was reasonable.

Law students Rachel Prandini '10 and Layla Razavi '11 presented excellent oral arguments in support of these motions last week.  Another student, Su Yon Yi '10, and fellow Shanti Martin assisted in the trial and in the preparation of the motion for attorney's fees.

The Clinics would like to give our heartfelt thanks to Dean Kevin Johnson and the rest of the administration of the law school for supporting these expenditures.  Going into a case like this, there is no guarantee that we will recover any of our costs, and without this institutional support it would not be possible for us to engage in this worthwhile litigation.


Great work by the students and Professors Holly Cooper and Carter White!  GREAT WORK, ALL!