Tag Archives: Contingency Fee

Just In Case Business Lighthouse, LLC, v. Patrick Murray, 2013COA112 (July 18, 2013)

“Integrity has no need of rules.” Albert Camus. There is no question that paying a testifying witness a contingent fee based on the outcome of the case is prohibited. But such evidence is not excluded per se. The court of appeals came to that conclusion because trial courts have discretion to admit testimony generally. Next, the court of appeals determined that the paid witness was properly permitted to summarize evidence already admitted into the record without violating CRE 602. Similarly, the witness’s summary exhibits were properly admitted, again because they were based on admitted evidence. Moving on, it held that a nonparty at fault could not be designated based on vicarious liability alone. The court then upheld the trial court’s decisions 1) to deny a directed verdict on a fraud claim and the economic loss rule and, 2) found a CRE 701 objection was not preserved for appeal.

http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Court_of_Appeals/Opinion/2013/12CA1261-PD.pdf

http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?opinionid=9033&courtid=1

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Filed under Appellate Review Challenged, Attorney Regulation, Contracts, Evidence, Torts

Melat, Pressman & Higbie, LLP v. Hannon Law Firm, LLC, 2012CO61 (October 22, 2012)

No one likes to split winnings. But, in contingency fee agreements, if the client wins, the attorney gets some of the winnings. In this case, three firms agree to represent a client on a contingent basis. One firm leaves about halfway through. The client settles and the two remaining firms split the one-third fee. They cut the early-departing firm out of the fees. There is no contract among the firms regarding their split. The third firm brings a quantum meruit claim (unjust enrichment) seeking their third of the fees. The Court, upholding a court of appeals decision, held that even if an attorney has no right to claim quantum meruit from the client (because of the lack of due notice to the client), such claims can still be brought against co-counsel. Without deciding the statute of limitations period is 3 years, the Court held that a claim accrues at the time of settlement or judgment.

http://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Court_Probation/Supreme_Court/Opinions/2011/11SC265.pdf

http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?opinionid=8706&courtid=2

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Filed under Appellate Review Challenged, Attorney Regulation, Contracts