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Law Firm Can Collect Fees Under Quantum Meruit Doctrine

March 24, 2010 | Posted in : Fee Dispute, Fee Dispute Litigation / ADR, Fee Issues on Appeal, Unpaid Fees

A recent article, “Quantum Meruit Gives N.J. Firm Clean Sweep in Fee Collection Suit” reports that a New Jersey Appellate Division court ruled recently that a New Jersey law firm, stiffed on its fees, can collect $116,000 from its corporate client.  The ruling overturned a low court that absolved four shareholders of liability.  The ruling applied the quantum meruit doctrine which requires that services were performed in good faith, that services were accepted by the person for whom they were rendered, that the plaintiff reasonably expected compensation for performing the services, and that the value of services is reasonable.  “To satisfy the element in question, it is only necessary to establish that the defendants accepted the benefit of the services; Cole Schotz was not required to show that each defendant intended to pay for the services rendered,” the appeals panel said.  The appeals court remanded the case for entry of a judgment finding the corporate and individual clients jointly and severally liable for the outstanding bill.