White County billed almost $125,000 for sheriff’s attorney fees garnered from lawsuit

by | October 12, 2017 6:42 am

Attorneys who represented White County’s sheriff in his lawsuit against the county recently submitted their bill for legal services in an amount over $124,000.

On Sept. 19, 2017, the White County Commission took action to approve a proposed settlement to end the longstanding lawsuit that was filed against the county by Sheriff Oddie Shoupe. The settlement provided a wide range of agreements, which included increasing staffing and purchasing additional equipment.

At the time the county commission approved the settlement, the final legal bill for the sheriff was unknown. However, the Law Offices of Moore, Vader, Fitzpatrick, and York P.C., who represented Shoupe in his lawsuit against the county, submitted their legal bill to White County’s attorneys John Meadows and Randal Boston.

According to the letter sent to Meadows and Boston, on Sept. 29, “Enclosed herewith is our legal bill for services rendered on behalf of Sheriff Oddie Shoupe in the above captioned matter. Please present this bill for payment to Chad Marcum (White County finance director) and Denny Wayne Robinson (White County executive). Should they contest the amount of the bill, please let us know immediately.”

The legal bill for professional services rendered on behalf of Shoupe included:

-217.20 hours at $300 per hour (Attorney Lane Moore) $65,160

-171.80 hours at $300 per hour (Attorney Randy York) $51,540

-5.00 hours at $200 per hour (Attorney Blake Fitzpatrick)$1,000

-40.40 hours at $100 per hour (Paralegal) $4,040

-Additional legal expenses, mileage, and records $3,210.09

The total cost for professional legal services is $124,950.09. According to the letter sent to the county by Shoupe’s attorneys, a discount in the amount of $5,000 will be given to the county bringing the total to $119,950.09.

“If they do contest the invoice, we will prepare a formal   Motion for the Court to set the attorney’s fees and file affidavits and a legal brief in support of same,” stated the letter regarding if the county contests the legal bill. “We do anticipate that it will result in [an] additional 20-40 hours of legal work on behalf of Sheriff Shoupe’s attorneys if we have to litigate the attorney fee issue.”

If White County does contest the legal bill, Shoupe’s   attorneys also warned the county by stating, “Additionally, we would withdraw the $5,000 discount reflected in the invoice. We see no reason for White County to spend an additional $25,000 to $30,000 to pay your attorney fees and our attorney fees to litigate this issue.”

Furthermore, the letter send to the county also enclosed an invoice for the professional testimony services of Dr. Larry S. Miller. The cost of the professional services of Miller is $12,291.76. The invoice states $191.76 is for mileage, while the remaining $12,200 is for professional services.

The Board of Commissioners for White County is expected to discuss their options about the sheriff’s legal bill at its commission meeting, which is 6 p.m., Oct. 16, at the White County Courthouse.

comments » 3

  1. Comment by MEG

    October 12, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Ya think ya see another ‘surprise’ tax on the horizon? I.e. wheel tax. Oh, maybe there is a surplus of the wheel tax monies that will cover these lawyer bills. Personally, I doubt it.

  2. Comment by Tom Ferguson

    October 12, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Years ago there was an ad campaign for FRAM oil filters. Their slogan was, “Pay me now, or pay me later”, encouraging auto owners to change their oil and filter regularly or face expensive repair bills in the future.

    Seems like the commission should have paid Shoupe at the beginning, In the end they gave him pretty much what he wanted in the first place (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here), plus ended up with these attorney fees to boot.

    Looks like the “Pay Me Later” plan didn’t work out so good. So who’s right and who’s wrong? Looks like Shoupe was trying to do the best for his Department, while the commission was trying to save the taxpayers some money. In the end, the taxpayers ended up with the short end of this stick.

    Put this in the back of your mind and remember come election time. If you don’t vote, don’t complain.

  3. Comment by Fund Them

    October 15, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    This could have been worked out when it became a problem if all involved had been willing to sit down and talk. We are very LUCKY that we did mediate and come to a settlement. Most likely we will not have a tax hike this coming year – because it is an election year. We need to focus on one major thing – having well equipped police, fire and EMS to come rescue us when we need them. Stop arguing about a few dollars to do this and take care of the citizens!


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