Law Offs. of K.C. Okoli, P.C. v. Maduegbuna – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Law Offs. of K.C. Okoli, P.C. v. Maduegbuna (62 AD3d 477, 880 N.Y.S.2d 230 [1st Dept 2009], Lv dismissed 13 N.Y.3d 771, 915 N.E.2d 1167, 886 N.Y.S.2d 870 [2009]), the plaintiff attorney alleged that he assisted the defendant attorneys in a contingency fee case, for which they paid him 20% of the fee they realized on settlement, in breach of an oral agreement calling for a division of the fee as the parties "had done in the past," and that in all previous contingency-fee cases procured by defendants on which plaintiff had worked, they had paid him 50% of the fee.

The First Department held that the defendants could not avoid a fee-sharing agreement on ethical grounds if they freely agreed to be bound by and received the benefit of same.