Aside from the normal, every-day problem of attorney fees in litigation and how they tend to stack up, in Quadracci v Klein 2019 NY Slip Op 33837(U) December 24, 2019 Supreme Court, New York County Docket Number: 650913/2016 Judge: Nancy M. Bannon there was a multiplication effect as attorney fees upon attorney fees had to be considered.
Starting off, this was a discovery dispute in which defendants were required to pay attorney fees to plaintiffs. However, defendants’ attorneys had some other issues on their mind.
“In this action to recover a security deposit paid pursuant to a lease agreement, the court,by order dated December 11, 2017, struck the defendants’ answer and counterclaims due to their repeated failure to comply with court-ordered discovery, found the defendants in default,
awarded the plaintiffs judgment in the sum of $82,500.00, plus statutory interest, and referred the issue of the amount due to the plaintiffs for attorneys’ fees and costs to a referee to hear and report. The referee conducted a hearing on April 11, 2018, and thereafter issued a report on December 24, 2018. Based on the documents and presentations at the hearing, the referee recommended that the plaintiff be awarded $143,836.65 in attorneys’ fees, and $9,266.29 in disbursements. The plaintiffs now move to confirm the referee’s report, and the defendants cross-move to reject the referee’s report (MOT SEQ 008). Non-parties Green & Cohen, P.C. and Michael Cohen move pursuant to CPLR 1012 and 1013 to intervene for the purpose of objecting to the confirmation of the referee’s report, and pursuant to CPLR 4403 to reject the referee’s report (MOT SEQ 009). The non-parties’ motion is denied. The referee’s report is confirmed. ”
“Non-parties claim that because of an ongoing legal malpractice action between the defendants in this case and the non-parties, seeking to hold the non-parties liable for the damages and fees incurred in the instant action, they should be allowed to intervene. Nonparties do not dispute the outcome of the underlying action to recover the security deposit or seek to assert any claims or affirmative defenses of their own in the instant action, they only object to the reasonableness of the attorneys’ fees recommended in the referee’s report, as they may be found responsible for said fees depending upon the outcome of the malpractice litigation. Indeed, non-parties recognize in their motion to intervene that it is “perhaps more appropriate to view [their] motion as one to proceed as amicus curiae since [the non-parties] do not really assert any claims or defenses against any party, and vice versa.””
“Inasmuch as the non-parties do not have a claim or defense they wish to assert with a common question of law or fact in the main action (see CPLR 1013) and the defendants and the non-parties share an interest in persuading the court to reject the referee’s report (see CPLR 1012) intervention is not proper. Nor is amicus curiae relief proper. Such a motion would require a showing that: 1) the parties are not capable of a full and adequate presentation and that movants could remedy that deficiency; 2) that movants would invite the court’s attention to law
or arguments that might otherwise escape its consideration; or 3) that movants would otherwise be of special assistance to the court. See 22 NYCRR 500.23.”