Legal Malpractice Law Review

Legal Malpractice Law Review

Research, resources & expertise in the law governing lawyers

Category Archives: Attorneys Fees

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PA: One Giant Step for Legal Mal Plaintiffs in Pennsylvania

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Commercial, Damages, Defenses, Pennsylvania
Coleman v. Duane Morris, LLP (Superior Court of PA–Nov. 13, 2012) Underlying Matter: PA stock sale agreement to avoid personal tax liability; alleged breach of retainer contract claim for legal malpractice. Facts: Plaintiffs held ownership interests in two companies, BCA Management Inc. and BCA Professional Services, Inc. By 2006, the companies owed over $2 million… Continue Reading

N.J. An “Unpublished” Primer on Damages and Attorney Fees in Legal Malpractice Actions

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Damages, New Jersey, Real Estate
Nix v. Verp, NJ App Div 2-18-2011 (Not approved for Publication). Underlying matter:  NJ Real estate closing; inappropriate title search resulting in legal malpractice action Ed. Note: We tend to diminish the value of unpublished decisions because of their limited precedential value. But make no mistake. As a means of getting a quick primer on… Continue Reading

NJ: Reasonableness of Attorneys Fees Requires Expert Testimony

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Commercial, New Jersey
Brach, Eichler, etc. v. Ezekwo, 345 N.J. Super. 1 ( App. Div. 2001) NJ: Underlying contract cases Student Contributor: Le-el D. Sinai Facts: Defendant client retained attorney plaintiff to represent her in several attempts to get medical board certification and in disputes with insurance companies. The attempts to get  certification were unsuccessful. The attorney and… Continue Reading

NJ: Beware Mortgages on Client Property to Secure fees

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Conflicts of Interest, Fiduciary Duty, New Jersey
Petit-Clair v. Nelson, 782 A.2d 960 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2001) NJ: Attorneys fees  Student Contributor: Le-el D. Sinai Facts: The defendants in this case are business owners who hired the plaintiff attorney to represent their businesses in litigation. During litigation, defendants agreed to give the plaintiff attorney mortgage on their home in order… Continue Reading

NY: Client Barred from Raising Malpractice Claim Twice Because of Res Judicata

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Conflicts of Interest, Damages, Family Law, New York
Montalbano, Condon, & Frank, PC v. Rodi, 54 A.D.3d 1012 (App. Div. 2d Dept. 2008) NY: Client subsequently barred from raising issues it failed to raise in first malpractice dispute. Student Contributor: Jared Levy Facts: The plaintiff law firm represented the defendant in the underlying matrimonial action. The defendant did not pay for the legal… Continue Reading

NJ: The Obligatory Defense of Legal Malpractice to Claims for Nonpayment of Attorney’s Fees

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Commercial, Damages, Litigation, New Jersey
Glass v. Suburban Restoration Co., Inc., 317 N.J. Super. 574, 722 A.2d 944 (App. Div. 1998). NJ Underlying Attorney’s Fee Dispute Student Contributor: Michelle Guardado Facts: Plaintiff attorney provided legal services for defendant for about eight months until defendant discharged plaintiff. During the period plaintiff represented defendant she submitted bills for legal services and disbursements.… Continue Reading

NY: Client’s Duty to Timely Object to Unreasonable Fees

Posted in Attorneys Fees, New York
Morrison Cohen LLP v. Parrish, Supreme Court, New York County, February 9, 2011.  Facts: The Plaintiff law firm filed an action to recover unpaid fees for legal services allegedly performed for the benefit of Defendant Parrish. Parrish argued that plaintiff seeks fees that were not authorized, fees that were excluded from plaintiffs proposed "litigation plan," fees "for… Continue Reading

NY: No Retainer, No Fees?

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Disgorgement of Fees, Engagement, Family Law, New York
Cruciata v. Mainiero, Supreme Court, New York County, January 14, 2011. Facts:  Plaintiff contended that she did not owe Defendant attorney, her former counsel, the legal fees he collected from her in the underlying divorce action since he, allegedly, never provided her with a statutorily compliant retainer agreement.   Issues: Is an attorney entitled to… Continue Reading

NJ: Waiver of Attorneys’ Fees Must Be Clear and Unambiguous in Settlement Agreements

Posted in Attorneys Fees, New Jersey
Iram P. Valentin and Edward Patrick Abbott NJ: Settlement Agreements; Attorneys Fees The New Jersey Appellate Division reiterated the need for care in addressing the issue of attorney’s fees in settlement agreements in a recent opinion approved for publication. It is customarily assumed by attorneys that unless specifically provided by statute, rule or case law, litigants… Continue Reading

NJ: Standard of Care in Drafting Settlement Agreements

Posted in Attorneys Fees, New Jersey, Standard of Care
Porreca v. City of Millville, N.J. App. Div., January 24, 2011.  Facts: Porreca sued the City of Millville and demanded counsel fees in his pleading.  Eventually, the parties decided to settle the matter and, allegedly, entered into "detailed negotiations."  In the final version of the settlement agreement, the release provided as follows: The City and… Continue Reading

GA: Suing for fees: A New Twist?

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Conflicts of Interest, Duties: Conflict Avoidance, Family Law, Georgia
Levine v. Television Cablecasting, Inc., 581 S.E.2d 734 (2003) GA: Underlying divorce action Student Contributor: Farah Shahidpour Facts: Wife inherited title to a farm. She later transferred title to Television Cablecasting (TCI), a company wholly owned by her husband. Wife sues husband for divorce, seeking title to the farm. Husband asked his longtime friend, Attorney… Continue Reading

ME: Effect of Factual Determinations by Fee Arb Panel

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Expert Witnesses, Maine
Perry v. Emerson, Supreme Judicial Court of Maine, October 26, 2010.  Facts:  Emerson initiated a fee arbitration proceeding against her former attorneys, alleging that she never agreed to be responsible for the legal fees incurred in her divorce action and she was led to believe her husband would be responsible for the fees. The arbitration panel… Continue Reading

NM: Court Won’t re-Write the Terms of Retainer Agreement

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Criminal Law, New Mexico
Diaz v. Paul Kennedy Law Firm, 289 F.3d 671 (10th Cir. 2002). N.M.: Underlying criminal matter Student Contributor: Manju Sunny Facts: Plaintiffs, clients in the matter, brought suit against defendants, their attorneys. Plaintiffs retained defendants to represent them in criminal cases filed in the New Mexico state court. Defendants charged plaintiffs a flat fee of… Continue Reading

NJ: No Duty to the Guarantor Who Pays Client Legal Fees

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Family Law, New Jersey
DeAngelis v. Rose, 320 N.J. Super. 263, 727 A.2d 61 (App. Div. 1999) NJ Underlying Divorce Action Student Contributor: Evan Kusnitz Facts: A father guaranteed in writing his daughter’s fees for her divorce attorney. He was not a party to the agreement between his daughter and the attorney. When the legal fees exceeded more than double the… Continue Reading

NJ: No Attorney’s Fees Against In-House Counsel

Posted in Attorneys Fees
State National Ins. Co. v. The County of Camden, et al., D.N.J., June 25, 2010 Facts:  State National sued its insured, the County of Camden, to determine which entity or person ought to be liable for injuries sustained by a driver who collided with a guardrail owned and maintained by the County.  State National also sued… Continue Reading

E.D.Pa. Attorneys Fees a Damages Offset in Legal Malpractice Actions?

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Federal, Litigation, Mitigation of Damages
Duncan v. Lord, 409 F.Supp. 687 (E.D. Pa, 1976) Underlying action: legal malpractice money damages Student Contributor: Ryan O’Donnell Facts: Attorney was found liable for malpractice. In a post trial brief, he asserted that the amount plaintiff would have recovered should be reduced in the malpractice action by the amount of what the attorney’s fee… Continue Reading

NJ: Expert Opinion Necessary to Dispute Reasonableness of Attorney’s Fees

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Expert Witnesses, New Jersey
Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein, Blader & Lehman v. Parise, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, February 24, 2010 Facts:  Defendants retained Plaintiff attorneys in an underlying residential construction matter.  Upon the submission of summary judgment motions in the underlying matter, defendants instructed their attorneys to cease all legal work.  The attorneys advised of the need to… Continue Reading

NJ: Attorney’s Liens Enforced Prior to Resolution of Malpractice Action

Posted in Attorneys Fees, New Jersey
Cole v. Cole, N.J. App. Div. February 8, 2010 Facts: Defendant allegedly failed to pay his attorneys for services rendered, and the attorneys sought to impose a lien under N.J.S.A. which attaches to a verdict, report, decision, award, judgment, or final order in the client’s favor.  The trial court made a determination as to the proper amount… Continue Reading

Beyond Duties to Clients: Associates’ Duties to their Law Firms

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Fiduciary Duty, Texas
Johnson v. Brewer & Pritchard, P.C., 73 S.W.3d 193 (Tex. 2002) TX: Underlying referral of a personal injury case to another law firm Student Contributor: Anna Ford (J.D. ( 2011) Texas Tech University School of Law; B.B.A. (2008) Emory University) FACTS:  After a helicopter crash, James Chang, an associate with the firm of Brewer &… Continue Reading

Retainer Agreements: The Importance of Clarity

Posted in Attorneys Fees, Litigation, New York, Torts/Personal Injury
Shaw v. Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co.,  68 N.Y.2d 172, 499 N.E.2d 864(App. Div.1986) NY: Underlying  Personal Injury Action–Fee Dispute Student Contributor: Candice L. Deaner Facts: The Plaintiff brought a personal injury claim and retained the law firm  on a contingent fee basis. The agreement did not mention appeals. After the trial ended in a verdict… Continue Reading