(The Fremont County Courthouse in Lander.)
(Cheyenne, Wyo.) - U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson on Friday ruled that Fremont County will be required to pay $964,797.74 for attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by the five Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho plaintiffs in the case that found the county’s at-large voting rules unfair.
Fremont County Deputy Attorney Jodi Darrough said of the nearly $1 million in costs that Johnson found to be fair, the county itself is responsible for $85,274. A fee minor fees and charges were reduced in the judge’s 21-page opinion.
The Wyoming Local Government Liability Pool, which essentially insures the county, will be responsible for paying back the more than $800,000 remaining.
Darrough said that the county had argued that the judge should base the fairness of the costs on Wyoming averages for similar cases, but the judge ruled the costs were fair on national rates.
The result of this voting rights act made the Fremont County Commissioners represent five separate districts. Voters can now only vote for the commissioner in their district. This created one district to cover the Wind River Indian Reservation. Previously, all county commissioners could voted on by the entire county population.
The county has been expecting to pay the fees since it lost an appeal in February 2012.