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ARTICLE ID 192918

Plaintiff law firm seeks approximately $________ in legal fees from second retainer agreement in underlying landlord tenant dispute – Bench trial – Defendant argues action should have been resolved inexpensively with ability of non-party subsequent attorney to do so for $________. Court gives defendant client credit for $________ already paid to plaintiff law firm and $________ in fees paid to subsequent attorney in landlord tenant dispute.

Kings County, NY

The plaintiff law firm sought approximately $________ in legal fees and interest that was allegedly due and owing. In the underlying matter, the client had been awarded real property in a New Jersey divorce action and was seeking to have her former in-laws, who resided in the Brooklyn apartment, evicted. The client initially entered into a $________ retainer agreement for services relating to the landlord/tenant dispute. The plaintiff attorney subsequently believed that in order to evict the in-laws, the terms of the New Jersey divorce decree would have to be changed to reflect that the property should be vacant. The plaintiff and defendant entered into a second retainer agreement that provided for hourly rates that ranged from $________ for the lead attorney to $30 per hour for a secretary.

The defendant contended that rather than attempt to have the New Jersey Courts modify the decree with respect to the New York property, the plaintiff attorney should have simply brought an eviction action in Kings County, New York. The plaintiff attorney had sought modification of the divorce decree and the New Jersey judge held that it did not have in rem jurisdiction over the apartment in Brooklyn. The plaintiff attorney sought reconsideration of this conclusion by the New Jersey judge and was again advised that New Jersey did not have jurisdiction.

The defendant subsequently fired the plaintiff attorney and retained the subsequent non-party attorney who resolved the underlying landlord tenant dispute for $________. The defendant maintained that the fees charged by the plaintiff were not justified and did not reflect work reflecting a reasonable course of action for the underlying dispute.The court found for the defendant. The court also ordered a refund of $________ in legal fees paid to the defendant, but did not direct a refund of $________ in legal fees previously paid. There was no evidence of legal malpractice at trial.

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