Law firm beats back lawsuit filed by colleague over fees

By Carrie Bradon | May 28, 2019

PHILADELPHIA — A finance company successfully sought to have a lawsuit by a law office dismissed, alleging there was never an agreement signed between the two entities.

The Law Offices of Bruce J. Chasan LLC filed a complaint that was ultimately dismissed May 2 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP.

According to the decision, in 2016, Lenwood Hamilton hired the plaintiff to represent him in a civil lawsuit against Epic Games, Microsoft and other defendants. Hamilton alleged the defendants had misappropriated his voice and likeness in a game.

Hamilton signed an engagement letter that stated that the plaintiff would represent him, but that in the event of a termination Hamilton would be liable for attorneys’ fees. Hamilton was also responsible for all costs and expenses of the litigation. 

Hamilton informed the plaintiff after a period of time that he would not be able to finance the litigation and the plaintiff contacted Bainbridge about alternative financing options. Hamilton did not pay the plaintiff any of the hourly fees which were calculated to be about $320,000. On April 27, 2018, the plaintiff informed the defendant that because the legal fees were not paid, it would be filing a lawsuit against the defendant. 

The plaintiff was offered two options by the defendant, of which the plaintiff accepted one in which the defendant would pay $160,000 to the plaintiff. The parties continued to negotiate and the plaintiff sent a number of modifications that the defendant did not accept. The plaintiff is now alleging that the defendant failed to accept the agreement, though the parties never signed any written agreement.

The plaintiff has not pleaded the existence of an enforceable contract and there is, therefore, no reasonable reading of the plaintiff’s complaint that can support their entitlement to relief for breach of contract, Judge Anita Brody ruled. Because of this situation, the defendant’s motion to dismiss was granted.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number 2:18-CV-05399

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