Winkfield v. Kirschenbaum & Phillips

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Attorney Fees

New York Law Journal

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Judge Jesse Furman

Asserting irreconcilable differences and Winkfield's cessation of their attorney-client relationship, Lemberg & Associates sought withdrawal as Winkfield's counsel, and a charging lien—comprising $2,115 in attorney fees and $441 in costs—on Winkfield's file. Discussing Local Rule 1.4, the court granted Lemberg's withdrawal motion. The law firm's irreconcilable differences with Winkfield, and their different views on the merits of her case and potential recovery, satisfied Rule 1.4's requirement of "satisfactory reasons" for withdrawal. Further, because discovery was in its early stages withdrawal would not disrupt litigation. The court also deemed Lemberg entitled to a charging lien under New York Judiciary Law §475 for the reasonable value of its services to Winkfield, subject to several deductions. Among other things, Lemberg was not entitled to a lien for $815 in fees for services performed before the action's filing on Oct. 3, 2012. Further, Lemberg's hourly rates were reduced, as being inconsistent with rates approved within the Southern District for Fair Debt Collection Practices Act litigation. Nor did Lemberg provide documentation supporting its claim for reimbursement of costs incurred.

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