Gronner v. Starvaggi
Justice Catherine Bartlett
Grossbarth, the plaintiffs former attorney, sought an apportionment of fees in quantum meruit for his role in prosecuting a medical malpractice suit that settled during trial. All counsel conceded that Grossbarth began the litigation, worked through discovery and filed the note of issue, but was suspended from the practice of law thereafter for unrelated matters. The court noted that neither Grossbarth nor the Office of Court Administration provided a copy of a retainer statement, yet Grossbarth contended he was entitled to a fee for his services up to the time of his suspension. The rule in the Second Department requires every attorney retained in certain types of actions to file a retainer agreement with the Office of Court Administration within 30 days of being retained. Such filing is a prerequisite to receiving a fee for any case where the regulation applied. As Grossbarth failed to file the retainer, and the case needed to be transferred to another attorney after his suspension, Grossbarth was not entitled to any fee.