You may have read that the state government settled the lawsuit that the ACLU filed over the debacle of the Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP; aka RI Bridges, if it ever works). As I’ve asked before, was this necessary? Even assuming the state wouldn’t have taken the same steps that it has promised in the settlement once negative attention forced action, couldn’t a push from a few activist groups have produced the same result?
Well, mostly. This part of the settlement probably wouldn’t have been in the outcome of a simple petition:
Plaintiffs shall be entitled to recover their reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988. Within sixty (60) days of the Court’s entry of this Order as an order of the Court, Plaintiffs shall file a bill of costs and motion for attorneys’ fees and costs with the Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988, unless such time is extended by agreement of the Parties or order of the Court or unless such motion is rendered unnecessary by agreement of the Parties. Prior to filing such motion, 13 Plaintiffs shall present a bill of costs and fees to Defendant and within fifteen (15) business days thereafter, or at such time as the Parties mutually agree upon, the Parties shall confer by telephone or in-person in a good faith effort to agree to an amount in settlement of fees and costs. If the Parties are unable to agree to a fee amount, Plaintiffs may file a motion for attorneys’ fees and costs with the Court.
Indeed, if a petition-driven resolution had included language promising money to the activists, it would have seemed shady. But in this case, to recap, the state is having trouble providing money and services to needy people, and some activist lawyers managed to make a payday of it while appearing to be warriors of charity. That’s government under a progressive regime, I guess.