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46 Years Later, Desegregation Attorney Wants $10 Million in Fees

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 16, 2011 6:44 AM

At what amount would you value 589 days of your life?

What if it was for a good cause, like civil rights?

But what if those days also spanned 46 years and included countless encounters with local politicians and the Department of Justice?

Can't come up with a dollar amount? Well attorney Marion Overton White has an estimate for you--$10 million.

In 1965, Marion Overton White filed a desegregation lawsuit against the St. Landry Parish School Board in Louisiana.

He's finally filed a motion for attorney's fees.

As with many desegregation cases, the school district had been subject to federal oversight for decades, requiring attorneys to constantly monitor the school board's actions.

This case finally settled in March, freeing the school district from the Department of Justice, and allowing White to file his motion.

Having been involved with the lawsuit from the get-go, White has submitted a bill requesting payment for 14,136.6 hours, reports the Advocate Acadiana.

His base rate is $350 an hour, but following a request made in the Tangipahoa Parish desegregation lawsuit last year, the paper reports that he asked for double.

He cited the case's length and complexity.

And also told the court that "the whole community owes attorney White a debt of gratitude for his steadfast faith in the legal system that helped to move this state and nation away from the hatred of racial apartheid as it existed when this case began. The failure to award reasonable attorney's fees would be a travesty of justice."

It suddenly makes more sense, doesn't it?

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