Judge awards Villegas $1.1M in attorney fees and expenses

Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 8:01pm

A federal judge on Thursday ordered Metro to pay attorney fees as well as costs and expenses to the tune of $1.1 million in the case of Juana Villegas.

U.S. District Judge William Haynes Jr. awarded the money by granting a motion previously filed by Villegas, the immigrant woman whose name made headlines after she was arrested during a July 2008 traffic stop and days later was shackled to a hospital bed during labor and shortly after giving birth to her son.

A breakdown of the money awarded, shows about $1.06 million in attorneys fees and $82,000 in costs went to Sherrard & Roe while immigration attorney Elliot Ozment claimed $37,000 in fees and $2,300 in costs.

The case quickly became a high-profile one with undertones of immigration policy and focus on the sheriff’s office’s participation of the federal 287(g).

In April 2011, Haynes ruled that Davidson County Sheriff’s Office deputies violated Villegas’ rights when they shackled her before and after childbirth.

Four months later, jury members awarded Villegas $200,000 in compensation. She had sought $1.2 million.

Metro’s appeal of Haynes’ decision brought allegations from the city’s attorneys that the federal judge showed a “pattern of unjustified animosity toward” Metro during the trial and has a “history of an adversarial relationship with Metro attorneys.”

That appeal is still pending before the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

14 Comments on this post:

By: Ask01 on 9/21/12 at 2:49

I somehow feel Judge Haynes doesn't like Nashville very much.

By: jsnap on 9/21/12 at 7:27

I feel like it is apparent that Haynes does not like America. He looks as though he is so full of himself. We need to be more careful who is appointed to this lifetime position. But remember what goes around comes around. I wonder if there is a connection between this judge and these law firms? You never can tell.

By: govskeptic on 9/21/12 at 7:40

Judge Haynes, not unexpectedly, made sure this seldom do well attorney
was rewarded sufficiently enough funds in this case to continue bringing more
of these cases in the future. The Judge wanted this reward to the attorney
on the record prior to the appeal being heard hoping that portion can remain.
What an unbalanced system we live and pay for.

By: Bellecat on 9/21/12 at 7:48

Disgusting. Haynes also wrote that Villegas is entitled to U visa certification---- created to protect residents who are crime victims and do not report those crimes because they are afraid of being deported. In the end Immigration Services will get to decide if she gets the U visa, but Haynes has surely done his part. This woman is the criminal. The courts and activist judges are systematically destroying us with rulings like this. Hopefully the Appeals Court will take a long, hard look at this case, and Judge Haynes rulings.

By: topcat2010 on 9/21/12 at 8:18

Are either of you citizens of the United States or you all just communist? Do either of you have any respect for the U. S. Constitution? I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution from emenies both foreing and domestic, when I was in the military. Judge Haynes ruling should send a clear message to the gun carring ignorant law enforcers that even a foreigner should be treated with respect. From te comments posted I know you all are not Christians. If, you were you should be familiar with a passage in the bible that says, "..do unto others as you have them do unto you.." GOD Job Judge Brown.

By: sonny1024 on 9/21/12 at 8:37

topcat2010 your wasting your breath my friend and calling LEO ignorant is a compliment. and yes they no better but their still going to abuse the law and the citizens.for years until just recently we had a sheriffs detective who would strap young teenagers boys & girls in a restraint chair and torture them and in some cases throw urine in their faces. A judge new about it but never did one dam thing to stop it I guess what i am saying judges swing both ways in tn.

By: bfra on 9/21/12 at 9:10

The woman is a felon! She entered the US the second time, after being deported & a felon is a criminal. She should either be deported or in jail, now. I watched the tape of her arrest & with her conduct, I can see why she was in restraints. She was not in restraints when she gave birth. This judge needs to be replaced!

By: ghost7638ghost7... on 9/21/12 at 10:11

This is outrageous this piece of crap is an illegial immigrant who did NOT belong in the US and she is awarded this money. SHE WASNT SUPPOSE TO BE HERE, SHE should get nothing but deportation.

By: jasonweaver on 9/21/12 at 10:41

Oh boy can see the idiots are out today on this story. So what if she was an illegal immigrant. A pregnant woman still shouldn't have been treated that way. Sheriff's department deemed her a medium security risk. Really? A woman in labor is a security risk? I agree with Topcat. If anyone who negatively comments on this calls themselves Christian, they need to get a major refresher course.

By: buzzer on 9/21/12 at 11:40

billy b

By: buzzer on 9/21/12 at 11:43

billy b - the lady was awarded $200k and and the reward for attorneys and court costs was $1.18 million. thats called... the judges taking care of their own kind.

By: Ask01 on 9/22/12 at 5:11

Do illegal aliens have basic human rights, gauranteed by the U.S. Constitution, just as all those in this nation, even convicted criminals?

Yes! No matter what many think or wish, our Constitution applies across the board. It must, or the document and rights enumerated risk becoming meaningless.

Was Villegas treated badly by local law enforcement?

Yes! Of course, we can assume such treatment is inflicted on many whose stories never make the news.

Should those in law enforcement responsible be punished for the maltreatment of a pregnant woman, regardless her immigration status?


Was Villegas breaking all manner of laws by her very illegal presence in this country?

Without a doubt!

As much it pains me to say, Villegas was mistreated while in the custody of so called law enforcement professionals, and ideally, those individuals should pay a significant portion of the award.

Should the facts of her situation, being mistreated by law enforcement after being arrested for another offense while in the country illegally entitle her to a free pass and a visa?


This is, admittedly, just my opinion, but I don't believe we have, to use a sports analogy, offsetting penalties.

She won, embarrassed Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, and local law enforcement, has her money, now she needs to go home and, if she wishes to return, do so legally.

By: govskeptic on 9/23/12 at 2:13

Ask01: Couldn't you just take another half page for that bleeding heart to
explain more. This is about the amount awarded in Attorney fees.
not the evils of mankind nor Metro residence.

By: Ask01 on 9/23/12 at 3:16

Bleeding heart?!?!?

You wound me severely, sir.

The amount awarded is directly tied to evil and Metro.

Had law enforcement not been so uncaring and callous, shackling a pregnant woman to a bed, there would have been no case.

The point, which I am sorry if I typed too fast for you to follow, is Villegas broke the law several times, but still retained some rights under the constitution regardless what knuckle draggers believe.

Which is why, when knuckle dragging law enforcement decided to shackle her to a bed, they broke the law and deserve to have to cover some of the money awarded out of their own pockets.

By the way, you should be happy there are some bleeding hearts out here otherwise considering the incompetence and violent proclivities of some U.S. law enforcement, a parking ticket could be a death penalty.

Worse, they, law enforcement, could all actually realize their innermost dreams of becoming a real life Judge Dredd.