Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Herzog v. Irace case brief

Herzog v. Irace case brief summary
594 A.2d 1106 (1991)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendants appealed judgment in plaintiff's favor entered by the District Court, Portland (Maine), in action to enforce an assignment, by defendants' client to plaintiff, of the right to proceeds from litigation.

CASE FACTS
Defendants' client was injured in an accident and sued for damages. Later, plaintiff performed surgery on the client for a condition unrelated to the accident. In lieu of payment, plaintiff agreed to accept from the client an "assignment of benefits" of any settlement the client might receive. Plaintiff notified defendants of the assignment. When the client's case was settled, defendants followed the client's instructions not to pay plaintiff, as the client indicated he would pay plaintiff directly. Payment was never received, and plaintiff sued defendants. Judgment in plaintiff's favor was affirmed.

DISCUSSION
  • The court held that the assignment of a future right to litigation proceeds was valid, and defendants were obligated to pay to plaintiff when they received notice of the assignment. 
  • In addition, defendants would not have violated any ethical rules by disregarding their client's later instructions, as the client had already validly assigned his right to the funds.

CONCLUSION
Judgment affirmed, as client's assignment of future right to litigation proceeds was valid and enforceable when defendants received notice of the assignment. In addition, defendants would not have violated any ethical rules by disregarding client's later payment instructions, as client had already validly assigned his right to the funds.


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