Raff & Becker LLPv.Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, P.C.

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.Apr 10, 2018
160 A.D.3d 479 (N.Y. App. Div. 2018)

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6253N Index 157209/16

04-10-2018

In re RAFF & BECKER LLP, Petitioner–Appellant, v. KAISER SAURBORN & MAIR, P.C., Respondent–Respondent.

Raff & Becker LLP, New York (Jacob Korder of counsel), for appellant. Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, P.C., New York (Daniel J. Kaiser of counsel), for respondent.


Raff & Becker LLP, New York (Jacob Korder of counsel), for appellant.

Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, P.C., New York (Daniel J. Kaiser of counsel), for respondent.

Renwick, J.P., Mazzarelli, Kahn, Gesmer, Kern, JJ.

Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Erika M. Edwards, J.), entered April 25, 2017, which denied the petition to enforce a charging lien, with prejudice, unanimously reversed, on the law, without costs and the petition granted to the extent that the matter is remanded for a hearing and determination of the reasonableness of petitioner's claim for unpaid fees for legal services rendered.

The record demonstrates that petitioner had good cause to seek to withdraw from representation of Ms. Wylomanska (see Bok v. Werner, 9 A.D.3d 318, 780 N.Y.S.2d 332 [1st Dept. 2004] ; Bankers Trust Co. v. Hogan, 187 A.D.2d 305, 589 N.Y.S.2d 338 [1st Dept. 1992] ; Kiernan v. Kiernan, 233 A.D.2d 867, 649 N.Y.S.2d 612 [4th Dept. 1996] ). The irreconcilable differences between client and counsel as to litigation strategies and choices to be made, as well as Ms. Wylomanska's placing of restrictions on petitioner's communications with her and her expressed lack of trust and confidence that petitioner would represent her interests competently, establish a deterioration of the attorney/client relationship that significantly undermined petitioner's ability to represent Ms. Wylomanska effectively. Petitioner is therefore entitled to recover for services rendered on the basis of quantum meruit ( Bok v. Werner, 9 A.D.3d 318, 780 N.Y.S.2d 332 ), to be determined at a hearing (see Sharbat v. Law Offs. of Michael B. Wolk, P.C., 121 A.D.3d 426, 993 N.Y.S.2d 691 [1st Dept. 2014] ; Bankers Trust Co. v. Hogan, 187 A.D.2d at 305, 589 N.Y.S.2d 338 ).