Seacoast H-D wrangling for legal fees in noise case

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Seacoast Harley-Davidson is having a tough time recovering the attorney fees a judge awarded the dealer after an anti-noise activist tried to force the dealership’s case from state to federal court.

After Seacoast Harley-Davidson, a Dealernews Top 100 Dealer, sued the city of North Hampton over a noise ordinance that is more restrictive than the state’s limit, New Hampshire Citizens Against Loud Motorcycles (NH CALM) and founder Bill Mitchell tried to have the case moved to federal court from Rockingham County Superior Court. A federal judge ruled Feb. 4 that the group lacks standing and sent the case back to superior court. The judge also ordered NH CALM to pay Seacoast’s attorney fees -- $8,807 – for that aspect of the case.

Now the group’s attorney is arguing that the price tag is excessive. Seacoast attorney Gregory Holmes, told the U.S. District Court of New Hampshire he worked on the federal case for 27 hours at his $325-an-hour rate.

“It's an excessive amount of money to file a motion to remand,” NH CALM's attorney Bob Shaines told the Portsmouth Herald. He expected the bill would be “a hell of a lot less.”

In the underlying case, the dealership is asking the court to void the city ordinance, find that state law prevails, and pay its court costs.

Posted by Holly Wagner

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