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Supreme Court hears attorney fees case

BISMARCK - The attorney for a Fargo man who fought Cass County over the demolition of two buildings on the county courthouse grounds says the state Supreme Court should send a message about attorney fees.

BISMARCK - The attorney for a Fargo man who fought Cass County over the demolition of two buildings on the county courthouse grounds says the state Supreme Court should send a message about attorney fees.

Robert Harms represents John Strand, who had tried to stop the demolition in a dispute dating back to 2003. Cass County called Strand's action frivolous and sought attorney fees from him, though the request was later withdrawn. He responded with a civil rights action seeking legal fees from the county. His claim was denied in district court.

In an appeal argued Thursday before the state Supreme Court, Harms said Strand is entitled to attorney fees based on the civil rights lawsuit.

"We cannot have the government threatening, brandishing the threat of attorneys' fees without any consequence," Harms told the justices.

Cass County's attorney, Todd Haggart, said Strand and his attorney could have asked the court to throw out the county's petition for attorney fees.

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The Supreme Court will rule later.

Supreme Court hears attorney fees case 20071222

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