It’s not entirely clear how the relationship between Attorney Fishkin and Marlow arose with Attorney Taras but it appears that Taras referred cases to Fishkin, or Fishkin was hired by Taras to work on the cases. many settled, but Fishkin and Marlow were not paid. They sued Taras for legal fees and lost on the basis that they did not file retainer statements with the Office of Court Administration within 15 days. This rule applies in the 1st Department for contingent personal injury cases. See Justice Edmead’s decision today.
"DEFENDANT ATTORNEY moved for summary judgment in this fee dispute with plaintiff attorneys, who claimed they were hired as outside counsel by defendants under an oral agreement to render legal services on personal injury cases in which defendants were retained by a client on a contingency fee basis. Defendants argued plaintiffs failed to file retainer statements in all nine of their claims under 22 New York Codes Rules and Regulations §603.7(a)(3), precluding them from recovering any legal fees. Plaintiffs argued the filing of a retainer statement was not a condition precedent to receiving a legal fee. The court stated an attorney who was retained by another attorney on a contingency fee basis in a personal injury action must file a retainer statement with the Office of Court Administration within 15 days of being retained. Thus, it stated as retainer statements were not timely filed in three matters and in the absence of proof retainer statements were timely filed in the remaining six claims, those actions could not be maintained, granting defendants’ motion. "