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The entertainment groups that persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a California law banning the sale of violent video games to minors is seeking more than $1.1 million in attorney fees and expenses from the state. On June 27, the Supreme Court ruled that the California law — which would have penalized anyone who sold or rented a violent video game to a minor and required such games to be labeled for ages 18 or older — violated the First Amendment rights of the Entertainment Software Association and the Entertainment Merchants Association, whose members create and design video games. The software association filed its compensation request on July 22 with the Supreme Court. “We look forward to moving forward and working together to raise awareness about the valuable tools and information available to parents,” said Michael D. Gallagher, chief executive officer of the software association, in a prepared statement. “From the start of this misguided legislation, then-Governor Schwarzenegger and specific California legislators knew that their efforts to censor and restrict expression were, as court after court ruled, unconstitutional and thus a waste of taxpayers’ money, government time, and state resources.” Zackery Morazzini, the deputy state attorney general who handled the case for the state, did not return a call for comment. The California law was passed in 2005 and became effective in 2006. On Aug. 28, 2007, a federal judge granted summary judgment to the associations and awarded them $276,000 plus interest in attorney fees. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed that decision on Feb. 20, 2009, granting the groups an additional $94,000 in attorney fees. The new request covers legal work associated with the case while it was before the Supreme Court. The fees primarily would go to a team of lawyers at Jenner & Block, led by senior partner Paul Smith in Washington. “This case involved important First Amendment principles, as the Act threatened the free speech rights of video game creators, publishers, and distributors, as well as video game players,” Smith wrote in the motion. “These attorneys were able to represent Plaintiffs efficiently because they were already intimately familiar with the factual record and with the legal issues involved in the appeal, having represented video game companies and associations in nearly every previous attempt to regulate video game expression based on its ‘violent’ content.” The entire team at Jenner & Block billed about $53,000 in 2009 and more than $1 million in 2010. The 2011 amounts have not yet been tallied. Nearly $254,000 of that amount was for Smith, who is chairman of the firm’s appellate and Supreme Court practice and co-chairman of the media, First Amendment and election law and redistricting practices. Smith billed between $725 and $765 per hour. Also on the team were partners Katherine Fallow, Matthew Hellman and Duane Pozza; William Hohengarten, of counsel; and three associates. Elaine Goldenberg, another partner, contributed in an advisory role, the motion said. The groups sought $24,000 in compensation for hiring Paul Clement, Theodore Olson and Lee Levine to participate in a moot court session in preparation for oral arguments before the Supreme Court. Clement, now at Bancroft PLLC, and Olson, of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, both served as U.S. solicitor general. Levine is a partner at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schultz. Reimbursement for expenses totaled $39,000. Amanda Bronstad can be contacted at [email protected] .

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