The opinion of the court was delivered by: MUIR
Plaintiffs filed this case seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against the Defendants, officials of Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, who had prohibited members of the Unification Church from soliciting in Susquehanna Township. On March 31, 1978, this Court held a hearing on the Plaintiffs' request for a temporary restraining order and the same day issued such an order prohibiting Defendants Caughey and Trapnell, Susquehanna Township officials, from carrying out acts in restriction of the rights of the Plaintiffs to distribute religious literature and solicit funds for the Unification Church within the township. Stipulations filed by counsel approved by the Court on April 7, 1978 and May 10, 1978 resolved the issues of temporary and permanent injunctive relief. On May 23, 1978, the Plaintiffs filed a motion for counsel fees and filed a supporting brief on June 6, 1978. The Defendants filed a memorandum of law in opposition to the motion on June 16, 1978. A hearing relating to the issue of whether counsel fees should be awarded and, if so, what the reasonable amount of such fees should be, was held on August 17, 1978. The following constitute the Court's findings of fact, discussion, and conclusions of law.
1. Members of the Unification Church regularly engage in door-to-door canvassing and regularly go to places where the public gathers for the purpose of expressing their religious beliefs through the distribution of tracts, literature, and publications and through verbal discussion and for the purpose of soliciting for contributions to off-set such programs and to support other church programs. (Undisputed)
2. Shortly prior to December 12, 1977, Gary Abrahams, the Unification Church Team Leader responsible for activities in the Harrisburg area, attempted to obtain from various officials of Susquehanna Township permission for the above-mentioned church activities. He was unable to obtain any licensing or permission. (Undisputed)
3. On or about December 12, 1977, church member Frank Lagrotteria was arrested in Susquehanna Township and charged with "soliciting without a permit." (Undisputed)
4. Plaintiff Scott H. Greene is a lay missionary of the Unification Church.
5. On or about December 18, 1975, Plaintiff Scott H. Greene visited various officials of Susquehanna Township for the purpose of reaching an agreement with the Township concerning the prosecution of Frank Lagrotteria and future permission for various members of the Church. (Undisputed)
6. At a meeting between Scott H. Greene and William C. Trapnell, Jr., Chief of Police of Susquehanna Township, and a Defendant herein, on or about December 18, 1977, Chief Trapnell indicated that at an earlier time he had issued a memorandum to the Township Manager recommending that no further permits be issued to the missionaries of the Unification Church. (Undisputed)
7. A copy of this memorandum dated February 7, 1977 was subsequently made available to the Plaintiffs, which memorandum provided in pertinent part:
"I would respectfully request that the permit authorizing the solicitation by the Unification Church be dishonored and withdrawn, and that they be prohibited from ever soliciting in this township again. In the future, any requests coming to my attention from this organization will be denied, and effective this date, we will arrest all representatives caught soliciting, on view." (Undisputed)
8. On or about December 18, 1977, Scott H. Greene met with John A. Roe, Esq., solicitor for Susquehanna Township at his office at 101 North Front Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at which time Mr. Roe was provided with legal authorities sufficient to indicate to him that prosecutions brought against members of the church and prior citations which had been issued against members of the church by township officers were unconstitutional and illegal.
9. On or about December 18, 1977, John A. Roe and Miles Caughey, Township Manager of Susquehanna Township, refused to assist Scott H. Greene in obtaining a permit for the Church. (Undisputed)