Matter of Will of Modell

NASSAU COUNTY
Trusts and Estates

New York Law Journal

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Surrogate Edward McCarty III

Law Firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner previously sought and were granted an order relieving the firm from representing Shelby, Leslie and Shawn Modell for their failure to pay counsel fees. The court also granted the clients a 30-day stay to obtain new counsel. The Modells once again retained the Boies firm, rather than retaining new counsel, and the firm now seeks to be relieved on the same grounds. The court granted the motion. However, the court noted the remaining issue was the firm's request to grant the clients a 90-day stay to obtain new counsel. The coexecutor and co-trustee under decedent's will, Lubitz, opposed claiming the request was untimely, and noted the prior withdrawal motion caused a six month delay. The court noted CPLR 321 did not mandate a stay when an attorney withdrew for lack of payment, but when withdrawal involved a situation not within the client's control. Under the current circumstances, the court found a stay was not mandated, but could be granted at the court's discretion. Yet, it declined to grant a stay at this time concluding the parties have had sufficient time to engage new counsel.

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