Court awards Gilbert Town Council Member Laurin Hendrix some of his attorney’s fees from lawsuit against town

Judge's gavel
Judge Daniel Kiley has awarded Laurin Hendrix more than $17,000 in attorney's fees and costs from the town of Gilbert. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Judge Daniel Kiley has awarded Laurin Hendrix more than $17,000 in attorney's fees and costs from the town of Gilbert. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

A judge has awarded Gilbert Town Council Member Laurin Hendrix some, but not all, of his attorney’s fees and costs associated with his lawsuit against the town about the timing of his seating on council.

Daniel Kiley, Maricopa County Superior Court judge, ruled Dec. 1 that Hendrix was entitled to $17,085 in attorney’s fees and $370 in fees because he partially prevailed in the lawsuit. Hendrix had requested $33,872.50.

Hendrix filed suit in August to be seated immediately on council after the canvass of the town election that month, arguing that he was entitled to it because then-Council Member Bill Spence had been appointed to council and state law preferred elected council members to appointed ones. Hendrix also asked that all council actions taken after the election but before he was seated be nullified.

The town had planned to seat the winner of the election, which was to fill the final two years of former Council Member Eddie Cook’s term, in January along with other election winners. Cook had resigned in February to become Maricopa County assessor, and council appointed Spence to replace him through year’s end.

Kiley ruled, based on a reading of state law, in September that Hendrix was not entitled to immediate seating but would be able to take the seat upon the date of the general election Nov. 3.


Hendrix also named Spence in the lawsuit and asserted that Spence was a “usurper” of his seat on council, an argument Kiley rejected. In figuring the award to Hendrix, Kiley threw out fees and costs associated with the part of the suit against Spence.

However, in figuring the award, he found that Hendrix in partially prevailed as he was entitled to the seat sooner than January but also that he had not been entitled to immediate seating or for council actions to be voided.

Kiley wrote in his judgment that to account for Hendrix not succeeding in all his claims for relief, Hendrix was entitled to two-thirds of the remaining billable hours from his attorney, Timothy LaSota.

The town was billed $33,460.54 in attorney’s fees and costs by the firm Gust Rosenfeld, its counsel in the matter, as well as $11,709.83 from the firm Pierce Coleman, which represented Spence. Council voted in August to indemnify Spence since he was being sued as a member of council.

Among the three bills for which the town is responsible, the lawsuit cost Gilbert $62,625.37.
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.



MOST RECENT

Gila River Hotels & Casinos plans to open Santan Mountain Casino in the next 18-24 months, company officials said. Future plans for the area include a hotel. (Rendering courtesy Gila River Hotels & Casinos)
New casino coming to Gilbert area; Duck Donuts marks 2 years in Chandler and more top area business news

Read the top business news from the past week from the Gilbert and Chandler areas.

Krista Cox
Gilbert Public Schools governing board approves course description books, fees

Krista Cox, GPS secondary school curriculum, instruction and assessment director, summarized the changes for the board as being done to improve the user friendliness of the book through its structure and format

Gavel, law books
Gilbert moves to dismiss lawsuit asking courts to throw out bond election results

The town of Gilbert asked Maricopa County Superior Court on Nov. 29 to dismiss a lawsuit that challenged the town’s $515 million streets, transportation and infrastructure bond election.

By the Bucket exterior
By the Bucket heading toward soft opening Dec. 1

The Italian restaurant serves hot spaghetti to go in a bucket and meatball sandwiches.

Atomic Comics
Atomic Comics reborn at SanTan Village in Gilbert

It marks the return of a popular comic book store chain in the Phoenix area that opened in 1988 but closed its four stores in 2011 in bankruptcy

Western Canal
Town narrows Western Canal pipeline solutions to 4

Some residents said after the Nov. 15 meeting they believe the town will just decide to use its original preferred solution of using eminent domain to claim the town’s easements on their property,

Casino rendering
New casino near Gilbert should bring jobs to area

A new 160-acre, $150 million casino is expected to open a couple miles west of Gilbert town limits within the next two years.

Jennifer Gallego, Tap Dragon Craft Beer & Wine Bar interiror
Tap Dragon Craft Beer & Wine Bar opens in Gilbert

Tap Dragon offers local craft beers and a rotating wine list, meads and ciders.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sits beside Samsung CEO Dr. Kinam Kim as he announces the company is brining a $17 billion facility to Taylor. (Screnshot via KXAN)
Samsung makes it official: Announcement from Governor's Mansion confirms $17B facility coming to Taylor

Nearly a year after Williamson County officials began pitching Samsung to bring a megafacility to the area, the electronics giant has made it official.

Jim Torgeson, who owns a Mesa sign-making business, filed the suit in Maricopa County Superior Court, naming the Town of Gilbert and each member of the town council in their capacity as a council member. (Courtesy Brian Jackson/Adobe Stock)
Sign maker seeks annulment of Gilbert bond election in lawsuit

A Gilbert resident and critic of the town’s $515 million streets, transportation and infrastructure bond filed suit Nov. 22, alleging his free speech rights were violated and asking the election results be annulled.

Now open
Three businesses that have opened in Gilbert

Here are three businesses that have opened recently in Gilbert.