A former assistant to former Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold settled her sexual harassment lawsuit against Leopold for $110,000 last month. But the legal battle in the case continues over attorneys’ fees.
John M. Singleton, the lawyer for Karla Hamner, is seeking more than $176,000 in attorney’s fees, according to a motion filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court. Singleton said he, an associate and a paralegal spent approximately 376 hours on the case, at $495 per hour for Singleton’s time.
Anne Arundel County’s response, filed Thursday? Not so fast. It calculates Singleton has only “proven allowable times” totaling about 28 hours.
“A review of the records suggests that they were not made contemporaneous with the reporting as required but, instead, have been cobbled together for the sole purpose of this petition,” wrote Jay H. Creech, a senior assistant county attorney.
The county also rejected Singleton’s argument of the case’s novelty, calling Hamner’s lawsuit a “de facto firing and a hostile work environment.”
Singleton called the case the “most contentious and controversial case” of his entire 30-plus year legal career and wrote it took a “tremendous toll” on his family and his employees.
“There are very few attorneys in the legal community who would have taken this case,” Singleton wrote.
Countered Creech: “There is no suggestion that this case was undesirable within the legal community other than counsel’s one line conclusion.”
As for his $495 hourly rate, Singleton pointed out the county paid $450 per hour to Linda Hitt Thatcher, a Greenbelt solo practitioner hired to represent Leopold.
“Comparing her total fees for the same period of time and dealing with the same legal issues, her bill to the county was manytimes more than that requested herein for essentially the same work,” Singleton wrote.
Creech was not convinced.
“The Plaintiff has not produced one iota of evidence as to the prevailing market rate in the Baltimore or Annapolis legal community for employment law cases,” he wrote.