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Louisiana Abortion Providers Ask for Nearly $9 Million in Fees



LOUISIANA – Louisiana taxpayers may be on the hook for nearly $9 million for attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by abortion providers in successfully challenging a state law that required doctors who perform abortions to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The providers, including June Medical Services LLC, are the prevailing parties in a case alleging the law unduly burdened a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion before viability. Thus, they are entitled to recover attorneys’ fees under federal civil rights law, the providers said in a motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana Monday.

The suit began in 2014 before the law even took effect, the providers said. The district court invalidated it in 2017, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a nearly identical Texas law. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the permanent injunction in 2018.

The Supreme Court overturned the Fifth Circuit’s decision in June 2020, saying the case was controlled by the decision invalidating the Texas law.

Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, “Louisiana has continued to pursue issues that are running up Plaintiffs’ legal fees,” the providers said. Specifically, it has persisted with efforts to disclose doctors’ identities by challenging protective orders and orders requiring such information to be destroyed, they said Monday.

The providers also are seeking reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses such as charges for photocopying, paralegal assistance, travel, and telephone.

Morrison & Foerster LLP, Rittenberg, Samuel & Phillips LLC, and the Center for Reproductive Rights represent the providers. The Louisiana Attorney General’s Office represents the state.