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Children's Rights cheapens its image with demands

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: October 8, 2012

Remember, this case was litigated in Oklahoma, not Manhattan. Shouldn't Oklahoma rates apply? DHS says an appropriate amount would be between $2.6 million and $3.7 million. This would be on top of the cost of defending the case, an amount that could surpass $9 million.

The fee total relates in part to how long DHS fought the lawsuit before settling — nearly four years. It's reasonable for Children's Rights to argue that taxpayers would have saved millions of dollars had the case not lingered for so long. But $700 an hour isn't reasonable. It would hurt the very system that Children's Rights claims was in dire of need of reform.

DHS settled the lawsuit instead of demanding a trial. Children's Rights should do some settling of its own. It should back away from the exorbitant demand, which gives the impression that this is less about reforming the system and more about enriching attorneys. What it's really about is sending a message to welfare agencies in other states targeted for similar lawsuits down the road. The more Children's Rights gets here, the more it can leverage deals elsewhere: Settle quickly or it will cost taxpayers millions of dollars in fees!

This is a smarmy way to end a sad case. With its excessive demand for fees, Children's Rights is cheapening its image even as it inflates its worth.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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