Tuesday, March 26, 2013
The New York Court of Appeals has affirmed without discussion a judgment dismissing a claim for legal fees.
ThomsonReuters had this report on the decision of the Appellate Division:
Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman is not entitled to a multimillion-dollar fee stemming from its successful representation of drugstore chain Duane Reade, a divided New York state appeals court ruled Tuesday.
Kasowitz had claimed it was owed approximately $7 million for litigation over automated teller machine fees owed to Duane Reade.
In a 3-2 ruling, the Appellate Division, First Department, found that the two parties had negotiated a "precise" fee arrangement via email that did not permit Kasowitz to recover fees beyond a flat $1 million payment.
Alternative fee arrangements, rather than hourly fee structures, have become increasingly common in corporate litigation. But they can also lead to disagreements about interpretation.
The negotiations between Kasowitz and Duane Reade on the fee structure occurred with a simple email exchange, rather than a with formal contract, eventually leading to a dispute over the meaning of the emails.