City of Parkersburg ordered to pay legal costs for lawsuit

WTAP News @ 5
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 3:31 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - The City of Parkersburg has been ordered to pay legal fees for two people that successfully sued the city over the city council citing the Lord’s Prayer before meetings.

Senior United States Judge John Copenhaver, Jr. made the ruling Thursday, October 6, in Charleston.

According to court documents, the City of Parkersburg is ordered to pay nearly $60,000 in legal fees for Daryl Cobranchi, Eric Engle, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

The city is ordered to pay a little more than $58,000 in attorney fees and nearly $1,000 in court costs.

The two Parkersburg residents and the Wisconsin-based organization filed a lawsuit against City Council in opposition to the prayer back in July 2018.

Back in May, the federal court ruled that City Council had to stop reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Judge Copenhaven ruled that the prayer violates the establishment clause of the first amendment.

Copenhaven issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the city council of Parkersburg from continuing its prayer practice.

At that time, each of the plaintiffs in the case was awarded a settlement of one dollar each.

In an email, the Freedom from Religion Foundation says it is delighted with the outcome of the case.