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Advocacy Group Requests Millions from State (Jun 19, 2012)

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Oklahoma is balking at a request of more than $9.5 million in court costs an advocacy group says it racked up during a class-action lawsuit over alleged mistreatment of foster children in state custody.

In a 37-page document filed late Monday in federal court, attorneys for New York-based Children's Rights say they amassed more than 36,000 hours of work during the four-year lawsuit against the state's Department of Human Services.

On Tuesday, DHS spokeswoman Sheree Powell said the Legislature already set aside $4 million for attorney's fees to send a message that "the state of Oklahoma is not an open checkbook."

Children's Rights executive director Marcia Robinson Lowry defended the figure and says the state is welcome to examine the group's billing records.

The agency settled the lawsuit in January.

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