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Friday October 31st 2014

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City Goes After Occupy Legal Fees

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.