25 Feb Federal Court Awards Attorneys Fees of $165K to MCJ
In MCJ’s redistricting case that led to the election in 2019 of the first Black state senator from Mississippi Senate District 22 in the Mississippi Delta, the federal court overseeing the case awarded MCJ $165,397.50 for the work of our Impact Litigation Director Rob McDuff on the case.
The recent decision regarding attorneys’ fees from U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves also awarded fees and costs to our co-counsel from the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington DC, to Cleveland, MS attorney Ellis Turnage, and to the Waters Kraus firm in Dallas. Waters Kraus has been a significant supporter of MCJ in recent years and the firm generously paid approximately $45,000 for expcrt fees in the case. The Court’s order requires that in addition to paying the attorney fee awards in the case, the State of Mississippi must reimburse Waters Kraus for that expenditure.
Despite the significant support for Black candidates by Black voters in elections for State Senate District 22 over many election cycles, white bloc voting led to the consistent defeat of those Black candidates. The district combined heavily Black low-income areas of the Delta with wealthy white areas in suburban Madison County, which is adjacent to the City of Jackson, in a way that diluted Black voting strength. Because of our lawsuit, the State was required to hold the 2019 election from a redrawn district with a significantly increased the Black population percentage and resulted in the victory of Joseph Thomas, who was one of the Plaintiffs in the case.
We expect the State to appeal this fee decision.