Courten & Villar v. Alcosser
Judge Andrew G. Tarantino, Jr
Courten & Villar, a law firm, sought judgment against client Alcosser for services rendered in a prior representation during Alcosser's Family Court proceedings. Attorney Villar testified the office sent Alcosser written itemized bills every 30 days that he never disputed. The court granted Alcosser, acting pro se, latitudes in his cross-examination of Villar, but noted it was here to determine if the firm provided and properly billed for its services, as well as if Alcosser owed a balance. It stated attorneys were entitled to attorney fees when they established they substantially complied with 22 NYCRR 1400, finding the firm established its compliance. The court also found the firm established its compensation was fair and reasonable, noting it did not charge Alcosser for travel time to and from court, entered a "no charge" in the billings for nearly 62 hours incurred on Alcosser's behalf, and did not charge a 5 percent late fee, as provided for in the retainer. Thus, as the court concluded the firm complied with 22 NYCRR 1400, and Alcosser failed to rebut any such evidence, nor demonstrate that the compensation was not fair or reasonable, it awarded the firm judgment of $28,560 against Alcosser.