Employment Law News
State Told to Pay $543,000 Legal Bill:
Former prison doctor sued, won
By Curtis Lum Advertiser Staff Writer
HONOLULU – A federal judge has ordered the state to pay more than $543,000 in fees to the attorneys who represented a former state prison doctor who accused prison officials of retaliating against him for speaking out on inmate abuse.
Dr. Terence Allen was awarded $110,000 in July 1999 after he sued prison officials for conspiring to retaliate against him. Allen said he was unfairly targeted and harassed for exposing abuses at Halawa prison in 1995.
Allen filed a federal civil suit against former Department of Public Safety Director George Iranon, former department Deputy Director Eric Penarosa, and former Halawa Warden Guy Hall. U.S. District Judge Alan Kay ruled in favor of Allen and said the doctor was subjected to inappropriate internal affairs investigations and passed over for promotions because he spoke out.
Kay ordered the three former officials to pay Allen $110,000, plus attorneys fees and court costs. The ruling is being appealed by the state Attorney General’s Office, which represented the three.
Last Friday, Kay awarded Allen and his attorney $495,317 in fees. The court earlier had awarded the attorneys $48,043.
Lead attorney Stanley Levin had asked for $605,857 in compensation.
Deputy Attorney General Gary Hynds said his office may appeal the award, which he called “excessive.”