Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Feingold v. Pucello case brief

Feingold v. Pucello case brief summary
654 A.2d 1093 (1995)

Appellant attorney sought review of an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County (Pennsylvania), which ruled in favor of appellee client in appellant's quantum meruit action seeking payment of attorney services performed on appellee's personal injury claim.

Appellant attorney brought a quantum meruit action against appellee client, seeking payment of attorney services performed on appellee's personal injury claim before appellee rejected appellant's contingent fee agreement. A board of arbitrators unanimously found for appellee. Appellant sought judicial review, and the trial court found in favor of appellee on the ground that appellant did not have a quantum meruit claim because the parties never even entered into an attorney-client relationship.


  • On review, appellant argued that appellee orally agreed to have appellant represent him, so he was entitled to be paid for the work he did even though appellee never signed a written fee agreement. 
  • The court affirmed, holding that appellant was not entitled to the equitable remedy of quantum meruit because he came to this court with unclean hands by proposing a contingency fee of 50 percent of the recovery and failing to comply with Pa. R. of Professional Conduct 1.5(b), which required attorneys to state their contingency fee in writing before, or within a reasonable time after commencing representation. 
  • Additionally, the court held appellant's claim failed on its merits.
The court affirmed the trial court's order denying appellant attorney's quantum meruit action for payment of attorney services performed on behalf of appellee client because appellant's unclean hands and appellee's rejection of appellant's services clearly precluded any quantum meruit recovery.

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