Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's request for attorney fees in a lawsuit against her was denied by a judge on Wednesday.
Palin requested $22,000 in attorney fees in a case against her by activist Theodore "Chip" Thoma, according to the Associated Press. In 2011, Thoma claimed Palin tried to silence his complaints about tourist bus traffic on streets around the governor's mansion in 2009, an action he said had a "chilling" effect on his First Amendment rights.
When the lawsuit was first filed, Palin's attorney John Tiemessen slammed the complaint, saying it was filed "merely for the purpose of harassment."
"The governor's actions and statements regarding this matter are a matter of public record and governed by the long standing doctrine of executive immunity from tort claims," Tiemessen said. "Like all of the other harassing complaints against the governor, we anticipate that Mr. Thoma's will be quickly and summarily dismissed."
U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess did dismiss the case in October 2012, saying Thoma did not provide the necessary evidence to support his claims. Burgess initially said Thoma would recover nothing, and Palin would recover costs from Thoma.
The AP reports:
Burgess in October ordered that Palin recover costs, but on Wednesday denied her request for attorney fees. In his written decision, he said courts have limited situations in which defendants may recover attorney fees to those where claims against them were "frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation." But he said he cannot conclude that the case here was frivolous, noting the limited record in the matter and that neither party engaged in discovery.
"It's nice to be told you weren't frivolous," Thoma's attorney, James McGowan, said. The lawsuit, he said, was aimed at "vindicating" Thoma's First Amendment right.
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