Lawyers for the Legal Services Corp. have turned tables on two groups representing low-income legal aid recipients and are trying to force the groups to reimburse the corporation more than $15,000 it says it spent to arrange a meeting that was blocked first by a federal judge and later by two appellate judges.
Two weeks ago, the Coalition for Legal Services and the National Council of Senior Citizens won a court order blocking the Legal Services board from meeting in Salt Lake City because it allegedly did not give adequate advance notice that the session was being shifted from Washington to Utah.
Yesterday, Eric R. Glitzenstein, a lawyer for the coalition, told Chief U.S. District Court Judge Aubrey E. Robinson Jr. that the case is moot. He said the board has now rescheduled the Salt Lake City meeting for Nov. 7 and 8 in San Francisco and plans to issue a notice in the Federal Register today.
Most public federal meetings must be announced seven days in advance in the Federal Register. Legal Services still contends it met that requirement by filing notice of the Salt Lake City meeting with the Federal Register a week ahead of time, even though it was not published until two days before the scheduled meeting.
Alan Swendiman, Legal Services' general counsel, said the corporation wants to recover the costs incurred by eight staff members and four board members who traveled to Utah for the meeting, as well for renting a room and hiring a stenographer who did no work. He said the firm also wants a court judgment that its notification of the Salt Lake City meeting was proper.
Robinson asked the lawyers to file their conflicting claims in writing to help him decide whether another hearing is necessary.