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Boston wants $8,334.25 from Satanists for fending off attempt to force Michelle Wu to spend Election Day in Salem

The city law department yesterday submitted a bill for $8,334.25 to account for the time four of its lawyers spent dealing with what a judge has ruled was a "bad faith" attempt by the Satanic Temple of Salem to force then Councilor Wu to spend Election Day in Salem answering questions about how the city council selects religious leaders to give invocations at the start of council meetings.

US District Court Judge Angel Kelley asked for the bill last week in a ruling in which she determined that the organization's efforts to make Wu travel up to Witch City on that particular day for a pre-trial deposition were part of "impermissible antics and abusive tactics" in its First Amendment suit against the city council over the invocations. The group filed its suit after no councilors would agree to sponsor it for an invocation.

In a filing, Corporation Counsel Adam Cederbaum wrote that four of his attorneys had spent a total of 31.45 hours dealing with the deposition demand, at $265 an hour. Although corporation-counsel attorneys are paid a yearly salary, rather than billing by the hour, Cederbaum wrote that the hourly rate he submitted "is consistent with the standard hourly rate that Defendant uses when retaining the services of outside counsel." And even then, he claimed, the rate " is well below the reasonable market rate for attorneys with similar experience."

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Comments

it should be mandatory that they pay the defendant's costs. No questions asked, no excuses.

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on legitimate but ultimately unproven civil suits.

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If you lose the case, whether you are the defendant or the plaintiff, you pay the other side's costs. Equal treatment regardless of the outcome.

But the current system where a plaintiff gets their costs if they win, but the defendant has to eat their costs if they win, is so much better - not.

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Wealthy defendants could use spending as a weapon to intimidate the plaintiff into dropping the case. Such defendants would have a strong motive to drag cases out, making the potential costs more and more ruinous for the plaintiff. They already do this, because the delays increase costs for the plaintiff, even if they only pay their own costs. Your proposal would give rich defendants much greater power.

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This happens to be the law in Britain and it causes massive abuse when the wealthy and the corporations decide to punish people with legitimate concerns.

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"But the current system where a plaintiff gets their costs if they win, but the defendant has to eat their costs if they win, is so much better - not." You are wrong on the law. Unless there is a violation of a specific statute that allows an award of attorney's fees, or, as in this case, one side or the other (can be plaintiffs or defendants) acted with ridiculous bad faith in how they litigated a case, each side bears their own costs.

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It would entrench the power of money more firmly.

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City Hall attorneys are paid about $120k a year, not $265 an hour, meaning the city is demanding about 4x too much. Does this mean the Satanists should be able to countersue for legal costs in refuting the city's exaggerated claim?

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That’s not how it works. Attorneys fees are determined by the hours worked and the experience of the lawyer, not what salary the lawyer makes. What the Boston attorneys are quoting for their hourly rate honestly sounds somewhat low to me, compared to other lawyers with similar experience and years of practice.

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"billable hours" also pay for paralegals, office staff, prep work, office space, and all the other costs of doing business. it's not just $265/hour going straight to the lawyer's bank account.

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The cost of a corporate lawyer's time is not just the salary but all the benefits and overhead. $265 an hour is cheap.

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for four lawyers? What a bargain.

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Interesting choice of words when any other religion would be handled with kid gloves.

If another group of faith was hit with a surcharge the ACLU would have already air-dropped a strike team of lawyers on City Hall Plaza.

Which proves the Satanists point.

Religion has no place in government

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Not just a religious one. With a few exceptions, judges aren't noted for their sense of humor.

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If another group of faith was hit with a surcharge the ACLU would have already air-dropped a strike team of lawyers on City Hall Plaza.

Which proves the Satanists point.

A) Assertion of facts not in evidence. As an ACLU member who reads their member publications and notices their activities reported in the media, I doubt that the organization would take that case. Are you a member, or just one of those who use the ACLU as a strawman for vaguely-questionable legal actions?

B) Even if they did take the hypothetical case, it would have no bearing on the Satanists' original lawsuit, or its point.

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(But that's because of my voting record and donation history. They already have big money donors and my pennies are better utilized by giving directly to candidates.

My point is that Hal Shurtleff never received a bill for his perpetual nonsense and he's filed HUNDREDS of complaints.

Congrats on your membership though.

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told Hal Shurtleff to take a walk with his Christian flag.

He didn’t like it, much, either.

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If the Devil made them do it?

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I've heard that he has more money than God. He can afford it.

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