Gallego to Horne: It's Your Duty to Save Taxpayer Money
and Negotiate Attorney Fees with Unions
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Assistant House Minority Leader Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix (District 27) today urged Attorney General Tom Horne to negotiate and pay reasonable attorneys fees to Union plaintiffs in a case the state recently lost over legislation that was struck down by the courts.
"There's no reason to heap more cost on to taxpayers by requiring the attorney fee issue to be litigated," Gallego said.
"When this anti-union legislation was passed in 2011, the threat of a potential lawsuit was widely discussed. It came as no surprise to the state," Gallego said of SB1363 and SB1365. The bills were designed to undermine the influence and operations of organized labor groups but a federal court struck down both measures as unconstitutional.
"Extremists in this legislature pass bills every year that they know will be challenged in the courts. Time and time again, these laws are predictably struck down," Gallego said. "The state is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars - taxpayer dollars - each year in attorney fees so that ideologues can make a point."
"Here's a chance for Horne to stop the madness and save the state some money," Gallego said of the option to settle out of court in the union lawsuit for a reasonable amount of money in attorneys fees. But Horne's office has been dragging its feet on agreeing to reasonable legal costs so plaintiffs are gearing up for another fight in federal court over the attorney fee issue.
"If Horne continues to stonewall the plaintiffs, they will take the state back to court over the attorney fee issue and will undoubtedly increase the amount of tax dollars that is eventually paid out to them," Gallego said. "All elected officials have a duty to protect the public's interest and in this case, it is Horne's duty to save the taxpayer some money."
"The legislators who voted for these bills voted to throw taxpayer money down the drain in lawsuits. Horne has a chance to try and save a little money by stopping further litigation. He needs to do the right thing and negotiate," Gallego said.
More information about the attorney fee issue can be found in a recent Arizona Capitol Times article: