Gluck v. Gluck
Justice Daniel Palmieri
Husband moved for an award of legal fees under Domestic Relations Law §237. After a trial, the parties agreed by stipulation that the court could consider legal fee applications. Husband requested wife pay $125,000 in fees for services by two different law firms he engaged. Wife argued husband engaged in "obstructionist tactics" by going to trial and unreasonably refusing to settle, thus unnecessarily prolonging the litigation. The court noted the disparity of the parties' incomes, finding tax returns showed husband's income to be nearly $90,000, while wife's was over $365,000. The court found husband did not engage in unnecessary litigation or obstructionist tactics merely because a settlement was not reached. Further, it noted bad faith by a party should not be inferred simply because the court ruled against husband on certain of his contentions. Thus, while the court discounted the fees associated with one firm for whom, and from whom, no affidavit or bills were received regarding their services, the court found an award to attorney Aiello as a result of work performed was warranted. Hence, it granted fees of $84,572 of which $53,000 was to be paid to Aiello, and the remainder to husband by wife.