Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood of the District Court of Guam has awarded $947,717 to Dave Davis for the costs incurred by Gibson Dunn, CIR and the Election Law Center in his lawsuit against Guam’s unconstitutional race-based plebiscite. Despite objections from Guam’s Attorney General, who argued that Davis should not be reimbursed the cost of attorneys from Washington, D.C., the judges noted that Davis had few other options. Davis initially tried to file a complaint with the Department of Justice, but the Obama administration refused to help. Judge Tydingco-Gatewood’s opinion points out that “had DOJ taken on this ‘substantial responsibility’ in 2009, when plaintiff first filed a complaint with DOJ, the attorneys’ fees and costs in the instance cost would likely not have been incurred.”
The Judge also noted Davis’s inability to find local counsel due to the extremely political nature of the case. The record showed that Davis contacted 37 local attorneys, “all of whom declined representation for various reasons – some defended the plebiscite; others feared for their safety and property if they took on the case; and many were afraid that public officials and judges would view them less favorably if they were associated in preventing the plebiscite.”
Guam’s appeal in the case is pending before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which held oral argument in November, 2018.