Epstein Becker & Green v. Amersino Marketing Group
NEW YORK COUNTY
Justice Cynthia Kern
Epstein Becker & Green sued to collect unpaid fees it incurred in its representation of defendants in two separate lawsuits. Pending arbitration, the action was stayed, and EBG moved to lift the stay, arguing defendants failed to proceed to arbitration. Defendants cross-moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. The court granted the motion to lift the stay as unopposed. Wang executed a retainer agreement with EBG, and the firm sent invoices totalling nearly $88,000 for services rendered in two underlying actions. The court found EBG established a prima facie right to judgment against both defendants for breach of contract entitling it to summary judgment. Defendants claimed the retainer agreement applied to only one of the two underlying cases, but the court rejected that contention, noting the retainer provided EBG would represent defendants on specific matters referred to the firm. Also, defendants' claim that Wang could not be held personally liable was meritless as he executed the retainer in his individual capacity, and was an individually named defendant in both underlying suits, thus may be held jointly and severally liable. Hence, EBG was granted summary judgment against defendants.