A state appeals court recently decided to raise the pay for a lawyer who got a settlement in a civil rights lawsuit fresh out of law school.

The suit was against McNeese State University in 2001. It involved a handicapped student, Collette Covington, in a wheelchair that hurt herself while trying to open a door that was narrower than required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The University settled with a $400,000 payment to Covington and six years free tuition.

Seth Hopkins worked 5,489 hours on the case, but District Judge Mike Canaday cut those hours by 20% because of his lack of experience. He claims that his lack of knowledge of the ADA caused for more hours than needed.

The appeals court ruled that he is owed $1.45 million instead of just over $1 million.