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Montgomery County Judge To Decide Whether To Lift Sanctions Against Friends Of The Barnes

(Artitst's rendering of the new Barnes Museum, now under construction on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.)

(Artitst’s rendering of the new Barnes Museum, now under construction on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.)

Brad Segall Brad Segall
Brad Segall is the award-winning Suburban Bureau chief at KYW...
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By Brad Segall

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — A Montgomery County judge will decide whether to lift the financial sanctions that were levied against the group that continues to fight the move of the Barnes Foundation from Lower Merion to Philadelphia.

The attorney representing the Friends of the Barnes argued before Judge Stanley Ott that the fees his clients are being asked to pay the lawyers who represented the Foundation are excessive but also not warranted. Sam Stretton says the petition his clients filed more than a year ago asking the judge to reopen the case was a good faith challenge made in an effort to raise new issues.

“They want $64,000 in fees, billing at the rate of $450 an hour. My argument was that that means that for eight hours a day for almost three weeks, they worked on nothing but the brief in this case.”

Stretton calls that unreasonable, but the attorneys for the Barnes Foundation say the legal costs are reasonable and accurate. Stretton told the judge that if he still finds sanctions are warranted, they should be against him and not the group. There is no indication of when the judge will rule.