CH Consulting Group v. Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads

NEW YORK COUNTY
Contracts

New York Law Journal

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Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich

Law firm Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads (MMWR) moved for summary judgment against legal recruiting firm CH Consulting Group. MMWR told CH it was interested in opening a New York office, and CH's president, Hayden, spoke with Unterman, managing partner of Kurzman, Karelsen & Frank (KKF) regarding a merger. The firms entered into negotiations, which fell apart in 2010. Yet, MMWR sublet office space from KKF in 2011, and the firms reentered negotiations resulting in a merger. Hayden sent MMWR a $400,000 invoice for "placement" of Unterman and 13 other KKF attorneys. MMWR refused to pay, and CH sued asserting breach of contract. The court noted while the statute of frauds did not apply to services of placement firms regarding placement of individuals, it did apply where the recruiting firm sought a fee for services rendered regarding effecting a merger of two firms. However, as there was no signed written agreement for services rendered to effecting a merger, CH's claim for same was precluded. As Hayden's involvement was limited to solicitation of the merger, and there was no signed writing for such consulting fee, MMWR was entitled to summary judgment.

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