The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is seeking $1.1 million in legal fees from California for its work related to Brown v. EMA. The move is not an unfamiliar one for the trade group, who has successfully sued and won fees in the lower courts in states throughout the country (notably Louisiana, Michigan, and Illinois), but this is a first at the highest level of the U.S. court system.
"It's unfortunate that some officials continue to believe that unconstitutional laws are the answer, when time and time again courts have thrown out these bills and proven them to be a waste of taxpayers' dollars," the ESA said in a statement... four years ago. Hopefully California's government will listen after this expensive lesson in constitutional law.
SCOTUS Blog has an excellent analysis of the challenges the ESA may face in collecting the fees it wants at this level and what precedents it could set for the future of lawsuits. You can read all that here. Below is the most interesting part:
"Presumably, the Supreme Court has the authority to order a fee shift, or to pass the motion down to the Ninth Circuit Court or the District Court to consider. It is unknown whether the fact that the Supreme Court agreed to hear the state’s appeal — something it had the discretion not to do — would play a part in its consideration of the motion.
Because the Supreme Court seldom is asked to shift fees in cases before it, the Justices may be a bit surprised at how high those fees can go when well-compensated, experienced lawyers are involved, and bring with them a sizeable team of associates. Lower courts, of course, routinely are faced with often pricey fee requests."
Source: Ars Technica