News Pensacola Politics Protests

City Goes After Occupy Legal Fees

November 14, 2012

The city of Pensacola today filed a motion in the United States District Court, Northern District of Florida to reopen the Occupy Pensacola case so that  it can attempt to recoup legal fees.

“It is the contention of the City that the examination of the entire record inherent in the Court’s Order of Summary Judgement in favor of the City substantiates a finding that the Plaintiff’s claims were unreasonable and without foundation,” City Attorney Jim Messer wrote in his filing. “In the interest of judicial economy, the City also moves this Court to permit this pleading to also stand as the City’s Motion for Determination of Entitlement to Attorney Fees as prevailing party.”

Earlier this month, Judge Roger Vinson ruled that Occupy Pensacola’s First Amendment argument did not apply to the group’s campout on the lawn of Pensacola City Hall. Occupy’s lawsuit contended that the tents were an expression of free speech and integral to the group’s protest. Occupy Pensacola, as well as three named plaintiffs, have appealed the ruling to the 11th Circuit Court.

Last week, Occupy attorney Alistair McKenzie issued a statement in which he said Messer had told him the city would go after legal fees if the appeal was pursued. A city spokesman disputed that claim, saying the city planned to recoup the costs—which he said were around $100,000—regardless of the appeal.

  • joe November 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    RT: I would be surprised if Occupy Pcola were a legal entity. They are most assuredly naming individuals as well, who most likely dont have the means to pay 100K plus in legal fees, but you already know that.
    Messer on the other hand will rack up another 10K or so of the taxpayers money for his efforts. XMAS bonuses guaranteed for that AL Law firm employees.
    Pcola, land of opportunity when the government is writing checks.

  • SB November 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Regardless of their alleged intent, they did not mention pursuing legal fees until Mr. McKenzie notified Mr. Messer of the appeal. Furthermore, if their intention was not a threat, their attorney should not have stated it as a condition of our appeal. I don’t respect dishonest government.

  • RTDavis November 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I am curious. Does “Occupy Pensacola” really have assets against which a judgment could be levied? “OP” exists as a legal entity, otherwise it could not be named in court actions, but who are the actual, living, breathing people (i.e., the ones with the money)? So, please provide more reporting about the identities of the people being pursued for payment/compensation?