Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Affirms Award of Quantum Meruit Damages in Attorney's Fees Dispute

In the case of Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, P.L.L.C. v. Law Firm of Malone Middleman, P.C., No. 7 WAP 2017 (Pa. March 6, 2018 Dougherty, J.), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the Superior Court erred in reversing a trial court’s award of quantum meruit damages to a predecessor law firm because the successor counsel received and retained a benefit from predecessor counsel’s work, thereby entitling the predecessor counsel to some payment.  

This matter arose out of a wrongful death lawsuit following a motor vehicle accident.  

The Supreme Court found, in part, that the predecessor counsel had conferred a benefit upon both the client and the successor counsel who later concluded the matter.   It was noted that the predecessor’s work on the litigation contributed towards the settlement eventually negotiated by the successor firm and that the predecessor firm was not paid for that work. 

As such, the court ruled that the predecessor counsel could recover damages in quantum meruit.   The court noted that the circumstances of this case established that the successor counsel received and retained the benefit from the predecessor counsel such that it would be unjust if the predecessor counsel was not provided with some payment.  

Anyone wishing to read this case may click this LINK.
Source:  “Digest of Recent Cases.”  Pennsylvania Law Weekly (March 20, 2018).  

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