As reported by ABP News, U.S. District Judge has ordered College President Ergun Caner to pay more than $34,000 in attorney’s fees. This award was made based on a lawsuit that Caner brought against two bloggers who alleged that Caner made contradictions in his once famous “Jihad to Jesus” testimony. “While not required to award attorney fees, Judge Moon said he chose to do so after concluding that Caner “acted with improper motive” in bringing the lawsuit and offered “frivolous arguments” to unnecessarily extend the litigation’s length and costs.”
Caner’s conduct in both the settlement conference and during legal proceedings cleared any doubt to the Judge that the case was brought for other than pure purposes. During the legal proceedings, Caner either claimed that the Defendant was a disgruntled employee, or that he did not know that Defendant at all. The relationship stated between Caner and the Defendant swayed with, what the Judge felt, suited Caner best.
Furthermore, Caner tried to claim that the Defendants “were not entitled to recover attorney’s fees because his lawyer is his brother and offered to defend him Pro Bono.” However, legal precedent has shown that an Attorney working Pro Bono can still collect reasonable attorney’s fees if there is an attorney’s fees award granted.
This attorney’s fees award was made with future cases in mind. By awarding attorney’s fees within this case it will encourage defendants “to protect their rights against those who seek to suppress criticism.” Furthermore, by awarding attorney’s fees it will deter other from using the court system in a frivolous manner.