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Thompson v. Tonopah Lumber Co.

April 1914


Appeal from the Seventh Judicial District Court, Esmeralda County; Theron Stevens, Judge.

P. E. Keeler, for Appellant.

Thompson, Morehouse & Thompson, in pro. per., for Respondents.

By the Court, Talbot, C. J.:

This is an action to recover a balance of $6,267.88, claimed to be due for legal services rendered to appellant, Tonopah Lumber Company, between the 1st day of June, 1907, and the 1st day of April, 1908. In the bill of particulars, rendered by the respondents on demand, they claimed $3,784.45 for services in sixteen mechanics' lien cases, $1,550 for six attachment suits and one foreclosure case, and $2,233.43 for legal advice, office work, and making seventeen liens between those dates. Indebtedness was denied and payment in full for services rendered alleged by defendant. After an extended trial, findings were filed and judgment rendered by the district court in favor of respondents for $2,544.93, and $296.90 interest on that sum from the 1st day of March, 1908, to the time of judgment. Appellant filed a motion for specific findings as to the nature and value of the services rendered in each of the cases itemized in the bill of particulars, as to whether appellant ever agreed to pay a monthly retainer as demanded in this bill, and as to whether, on a specified date, O. W. Kay was employed by and had authority to bind appellant, as contended by respondents on the trial. This motion was denied, and

[37 Nev. 183, Page 185]

in this connection it does not appear that appellant drew or submitted to the court any findings or prepared findings for approval or disapproval.

It is urged that the court erred in denying the motion for specific findings on the items of the bill of particulars; in refusing to find when, if at all, appellant agreed to pay respondents a monthly retainer on the terms and conditions of the agreement; in admitting testimony relating to conversations and transactions on February 18 and 19, 1908, with O. W. Kay, who had been in charge of appellant's Goldfield yard, and exhibits based on such conversations; in failing to find whether, on those dates, Kay was the authorized agent of appellant; in admitting expert testimony as to the value of office work and legal advice occupying on an average two hours daily; and in allowing interest prior to the date of judgment. It is also urged that the decision is not supported by and is contrary to the evidence.

On November 3, 1907, the respondents made a proposed schedule of fees, addressed to the Tonopah Lumber Company, which began in this manner: “In order to settle and determine our charges against your company, we submit the following proposition: The company to pay our firm per month cash, $200, this to cover all services of the firm for all office work, including drawing of mechanics' liens, making of contracts, forms, etc.”

Following was a detailed statement of proposed charges for foreclosure suits, based on the size of the claim, and specifying different charges for filing complaint, for settlement before issue joined, and for services after issue joined. The respondents made the following additional schedule of fees:

“Goldfield, Nev., Jan. 10, '08.

“Tonopah Lumber Co., Goldfield, Nevada. Gentlemen: At the request of your Mr. O. W. Kay, of this place, we have revised our charges for services rendered you since the first day of June, 1907.

“Our retainer fee, to be $200 per month, which shall

[37 Nev. 183, Page 186]

cover all office work, including adjusting claims or settling suits out of court as well as advising, drawing contracts, making forms, etc.

“Suits to Foreclose Liens.

“1. On suits not exceeding $250, $25.00 on filing the complaint, and $25.00 on issue joined; for attending trial and entering of judgment, such amount as the court may fix.

“2. In suits involving more than $250, and not exceeding $1000, 10% of the amount on filing complaint, and 10% additional on issue joined; for attending the trial and entering judgment, such fee as shall be fixed by the court.

“3. Suits above $1,000, 10% of amount upon filing complaint and $100 upon issue joined; for attending trial and entering judgment, such fee as may be allowed by the court.

“In paying the amount of fee fixed by the court, it is understood that the amount paid by the corporation on filing complaint and on issue joined is to be deducted and only the balance paid to counsel.

“In an attachment or other suit, the same amount shall be allowed as is set forth in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3, except that nothing additional is allowed for trial or judgment.

“In all suits on mechanics' liens, the company will recover the full amount of the attorneys' fees, and in all settlements before judgment the corporation has an opportunity to collect in fees more than they are required to pay us. As to the contingent fee, the company will receiver $25 for filing each lien to be collected from the party against whom the lien is filed.

“We feel that our charges are very reasonable in this matter, and trust that this statement will be accepted by your ...

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