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CUNNIFF v. NOVO INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION (09/12/68)

decided: September 12, 1968.

CUNNIFF
v.
NOVO INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 8 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1965, No. 2560, in case of Geoffrey J. Cunniff v. Novo Industrial Corporation.

COUNSEL

J. Roger Williams, Jr., with him John G. Harkins, Jr., and Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, for appellant.

George A. D'Angelo, with him Truscott and Erisman, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Hannum, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J. Wright, P. J., Watkins and Hannum, JJ., would affirm on the opinion of the court below.

Author: Hoffman

[ 213 Pa. Super. Page 178]

This is an action in assumpsit for attorney's fees brought against Novo Industrial Corporation, the operator of the Mitchell Specialty Division.

Plaintiff was first employed by defendant in 1958. In a letter dated December 16, 1959, quoted below, plaintiff suggested a new fee arrangement to defendant.

"As we are approaching the end of the calendar year, I have been going through my records and find that a bill is in order for Mitchell Specialty covering services from July 1 to December 31, 1959, inclusive. I have a suggestion to make which I think might be attractive to you. Instead of billing as I have in the past, why not pay me on an annual basis at a fee of $3,000, payable monthly. This would take care of all your labor relations problems, including arbitration, negotiations, advice and consultation. Excluded generally would be appearances before any federal, state or local administrative or regulatory bodies. Where

[ 213 Pa. Super. Page 179]

    such appearances would become necessary, an additional fee would be charged. This fee would be, of course, greatly reduced because of the annual fee arrangement. I think this is a good idea and would create an atmosphere wherein you could discuss your problems with me without regard to the amount of time consumed for any particular item.

"I think it only fair to state that the fee arrangement I have suggested might in some years be disadvantageous to me and advantageous to the Company and in other years the situation could be reversed. It listens good to me -- what do you think?" [Emphasis supplied]

In a letter dated December 28, 1959, defendant replied to plaintiff:

"This will confirm our telephone conversation last Thursday morning, during which I advised you that it would be agreeable to us to have you represent us on an annual basis at a fee of $3,000, payable at the ...


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