A Washington, D.C., street musician successfully won a lawsuit against the D.C. Metro Monday, and the court is holding Metro responsible for paying the man’s $50,000 legal fees.
Alex Young, a street musician playing an acoustic guitar, sued the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) in 2014 after he claimed Metro Transit Police harassed him outside various Metro stations in the region for playing music and accepting tips, which lawyers argued violated his First Amendment protections, reports The Washington Post.
Young won the case last year and did not ask for monetary damages in his lawsuit, however Metro officials contended the amount owed in legal fees with the court. Young’s lawyer points out Metro officials could have avoided a lawsuit all together but insisted the performer could not play near stations with his guitar case open, arguing it violated a ban on accepting tips near stations.
“They need to make sensible business decisions,” Jeffrey Louis Light, a lawyer representing Young, told The Washington Post. “This is not one of them. They spent time arguing over whether this guy should have his guitar case open, and for what?”
The court is putting the D.C. Metro on the hook for $50,145 owed to both Light and the Rutherford Institute, which assisted in Young’s case. Young’s lawyers note Metro officials’ decision to contest the lawyer fees after the initial ruling in 2015 costed Metro an additional $20,000 dollars in fees.
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