Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cohen v. Catherine Isabella Gold

United States District Court, D. Nevada

October 25, 2017

SANFORD COHEN, Plaintiff(s),
v.
CATHERINE ISABELLA GOLD, Defendant(s).

          ORDER (DOCKET NO. 33)

          NANCY J. KOPPE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is Richard Harris Law Firm, LLP's (“RHLF”) motion to adjudicate attorney's lien. Docket No. 33. Plaintiff filed a response in opposition. Docket No. 37. RHLF filed a reply. Docket No. 41.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On April 2, 2015, Plaintiff, now deceased, hired RHLF to represent him in an automobile accident. Docket No. 33 at 2. Plaintiff signed a retainer agreement on a contingency fee basis and agreed, if he had discharged RHLF prior to the end of the case, to pay a pro rata share of the total attorneys' fees, 33 1/3 % of the last settlement offer (40% after initiation of a lawsuit), or “$1, 000 per hour for all attorney and staff time, whichever is more.” Id. at 5.

         On April 14, 2016, Plaintiff terminated RHLF's representation. Id. at 2. On May 20, 2016, RHLF served a notice of claim of attorney's lien by certified mail on Plaintiff's new counsel, Gerald F. Neal, Ocean Harbor Casualty Insurance Company, and Progressive Insurance. Id. RHLF unsuccessfully attempted to serve the notice by certified mail on Plaintiff. Docket Nos. 33-4 at 7, 33-5 at 1.

         On November 14, 2016, Mr. Neal notified RHLF that he was no longer Plaintiff's counsel. Docket No. 33-3. On December 22, 2016, RHLF served a notice of claim of attorney's lien by certified mail on Plaintiff's new counsel, Trevor Quirk. Docket No. 33-6. On August 2, 2017, RHLF served a notice of claim of attorney's lien by certified mail on Plaintiff's newest counsel, Michael D. McLachlan. Docket No. 33-7. RHLF attempted to serve the notice by certified mail on Plaintiff but was notified by the returned mailing that Plaintiff was deceased. Id. at 1; see also Docket no. 33-8.

         During the course of RHLF's representation of Plaintiff, RHLF obtained medical payments and insurance payments from Progressive Insurance on behalf of Plaintiff. Docket No. 33 at 2. RHLF continued to work on Plaintiff's underinsured motorist claim against Ocean Harbor Casualty Insurance Company and Progressive Insurance until Plaintiff terminated RHLF's representation. Id. In April 2017, RHLF sent $8, 981.82 of the remaining funds from Plaintiff's first settlement to Plaintiff's counsel, Mr. McLachlan, but was unable to resolve its outstanding attorney's lien with Mr. McLachlan. Id. at 3. Through the pending motion, RHLF seeks payment of $33, 400 in fees based on quantum meruit for the work it performed on Plaintiff's underinsured motorist claim prior to its discharge. Docket Nos. 33 at 3, 33-9.

         II. ATTORNEY'S LIEN

         Nevada recognizes two types of attorney's liens. See, e.g., Newstar Chemicals (M) SDN BHD v. Megola, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135945, at *4 (D. Nev. Sept. 21, 2012) (citation omitted); see also Figliuzzi v. Eigth Judicial Dist. Court In and For Cty. of Clark, 890 P.2d 789, 801 (Nev. 1995). The first is “a special or charging lien, ” which provides a lien on “the judgment or settlement [that] the attorney has obtained for the client.” The second is a “retaining lien, ” which allows an attorney that has been terminated by the client to withhold the client's file, documents, and other property “until the court, at the request or consent of the client, adjudicates the client's rights and obligations” and orders the attorney to return the items to the client upon payment of attorneys' fees. Newstar Chemicals (M) SDN BHD, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135945, at *4.

         Nevada Revised Statute § 18.015 also provides guidance on the two types of attorney's liens:

1. An attorney at law shall have a lien:
(a) Upon any claim, demand or cause of action, including any claim for unliquidated damages, which has been placed in the attorney's hands by a client for suit or collection, or upon which a suit or other action has been instituted.
(b) In any civil action, upon any file or other property properly left in the possession of the attorney by a client.
2. A lien pursuant to subsection 1 is for the amount of any fee which has been agreed upon by the attorney and client. In the absence of an agreement, the lien is for a reasonable fee for the services ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.