Fish Pro Bono Team Wins Fee Award in Texas Voting Rights Litigation

On Wednesday, Judge Pittman of the U.S.D.C. - W.D. Texas (Austin Division) granted a motion filed by Fish and co-counsel the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund ("AALDEF") on behalf of Plaintiffs OCA Greater Houston for Post-Judgment Attorneys' Fees, Costs and Expenses in an important voting rights case Fish has litigated for the past three years. Fish and AALDEF brought suit against the State of Texas in 2015 under the Federal Voting Rights Act to challenge a provision of the Texas Election Code requiring interpreters to be registered to vote in the same county as the voter seeking language assistance. The fee award, which includes all aspects of the case from district court litigation through appeal and remand, exceeds $190,000, a significant win for Plaintiffs.

The case, 1:15-cv-00679-RP OCA-Greater Houston et al v. State of Texas et al., was filed on behalf of a Texas resident, the late Mallika Das, who in 2014 brought her son to provide language assistance so that she could vote in the 2014 midterm elections. Poll workers in Williamson County, Texas, intervened, telling her that Texas Election Code prevented such assistance. Joining Ms. Das as co-Plaintiff was the Greater Houston Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans; Fish and AALDEF filed suit in 2015, and after a year of litigation, Judge Pittman granted Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment; the ruling took immediate effect and now protects the rights of all Texas voters with limited English proficiency.

The State of Texas appealed; the Fifth Circuit heard arguments in the summer of 2017. Two months after arguments, the Fifth Circuit affirmed standing and the invalidation of the statute in question, sending the case back to District Court for entry of an appropriate injunction (the Fifth Circuit ruled that the District Court's injunction was too broad and warranted narrowing). Earlier this week, Judge Pittman granted Fish's motion for fees, costs, and expenses,

The order can be found here.

Fish litigation principal David Hoffmanwas lead counsel for Plaintiffs, and Fish patent associate Kenneth Darby played a key role in the district court litigation. Of Counsel David Morris worked extensively on the appeal as well as the fee award motion and lodestar calculation.