Coleman Camp Could Have To Pay $94,000 To Franken’s Legal Team

May 22, 2009 12:43 p.m.

Norm Coleman’s appeal of his defeat in the Minnesota election trial has not yet been argued before the Minnesota Supreme Court, but the two campaigns are busy litigating yet another point: How much Coleman’s campaign will have to reimburse the Franken camp for legal costs under the loser-pays provision of the election law.

As of now, and as determined by the court clerk, Coleman will owe Franken about $94,000 for trial-related fees. Team Franken had asked for $161,000, which was then reduced by the clerk after the Coleman camp objected that some of these costs either didn’t qualify or weren’t sufficiently itemized.

This hardly begins to cover the millions that have been spent on legal fees, but it’s one more thing for Coleman to worry about.

In documents that were filed by the opposing camps over the past two and a half weeks, but only just made available online, the legal teams argued over how much Coleman should have to pay — and when he should have to pay it. Pending a hearing, which Coleman has ten days to request, that latter question is still up in the air.The Coleman camp argued that they should not have to pay until the appeals process is over — due to the possibility that they can still win. On May 8, in response to the Franken camp’s original itemized claims, they argued:

Given this expedited process, it is most efficient for this Court to refrain from considering and deciding Contestee’s request for taxation of costs and disbursements until Contestants’ expedited appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court is resolved. If Contestants prevail on appeal, then Contestee’s request for taxation of costs and disbursements will become moot. If, on the other hand, Contestee prevails on appeal, this Court can promptly issue an Order on Contestee’s request.

In the Franken camp’s reply, filed on May 13, they say that there is no legal basis for Coleman to delay paying the check:

At the outset, Contestants do not dispute that, as the prevailing party in this litigation, Contestee is fully entitled to an appropriate award of costs.

Instead, Contestants argue that such an award should be delayed, pending resolution of the appeal. The argument finds no support in the law. Rule 54.04 provides that costs and disbursements may be taxed by the court administrator on two days’ notice. Contestants do not appear to content — nor can they — that their appeal stays the taxation of costs. There is no authority to support such a contention.

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