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Attorney Asks D.C. To Pay $54k In Fees For Handgun Case

Attorney Alan Gura.

The attorney who filed the lawsuit that recently led a federal judge to toss out D.C.'s ban on carrying handguns outside the home is asking that the city pay him for the time he spent working on the case.

In a filing this week, Alan Gura asked for $54,720 in fees for his work on the case, which was filed in 2009 and decided late last month. In the ruling, Judge Frederick Scullin found that the city's total ban on carrying handguns outside the home was unconstitutional.

Gura said in the filing that he spent 85.5 hours at the hourly rate of $640 on the case, which was filed on behalf of three D.C. residents, one Maryland resident and a Washington state-based gun rights group.

"Respectfully, counsel’s skill, reputation, and experience easily support his standard hourly rates," wrote Gura in the filing, which detailed everything from the time it took him to email the plaintiffs (one-tenth of an hour each) to how much time he spent drafting the complaint and request for summary judgement — two hours and four hours, respectively.

Gura also argued that his request is modest, given the nature of the case.

"The total hours sought by counsel for litigating a case of this magnitude and complexity — 85.5 — is extremely low, reflecting careful billing judgment and, to Defendants’ benefit, the highly efficient nature of counsel’s practice," he wrote.

Gura was among the lawyers who argued the 2008 case in which the city's total ban on handgun ownership was overturned. In that case, it took three years for his request for fees to be settled; while he and the other attorneys on the case requested $3.1 million in fees, they were eventually granted $1.1 million. He also received $312,727 in fees from a case in which he successfully argued against a ban on carrying handguns in Chicago.

In the filing, Gura says that he may ask for more money, depending on how long it takes to resolve the fee dispute and if D.C. appeals the ruling, which was stayed for 90 days. D.C. has asked for either 180 days or a stay pending appeal. both of which Gura has opposed.

A request for comment from D.C. Attorney Irv Nathan was not immediately returned.

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