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Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, P.L.L.C. v. Law Firm of Malone Middleman, PC

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

June 17, 2014

MEYER, DARRAGH, BUCKLER, BEBENEK & ECK, P.L.L.C.
v.
LAW FIRM OF MALONE MIDDLEMAN, PC, AND CANDACE A. EAZOR AND RICHARD EAZOR, AS EXECUTORS OF THE ESTATE OF RICHARD A. EAZOR, APPEAL OF: LAW FIRM OF MALONE MIDDLEMAN, PC, Appellant; MEYER, DARRAGH, BUCKLER, BEBENEK & ECK, P.L.L.C., Appellant
v.
LAW FIRM OF MALONE MIDDLEMAN, P.C. AND CANDACE A. EAZOR AND RICHARD EAZOR AS EXECUTORS OF THE ESTATE OF RICHARD A. EAZOR

Argued July 23, 2013.

Appeal fro the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Civil Division, No. AR 10-007964 and AR 10-007964. Before HERTZBERG, J.

David E. Smith, Wexford, for appellant.

Scott A. Millhouse, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., OTT AND MUSMANNO, JJ. OPINION BY FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E.

OPINION

Page 894

FORD ELLIOTT, JUDGE.

This is a cross-appeal from the judgment entered August 22, 2012, awarding Meyer Darragh $14,721.39 on its quantum meruit claim against Malone Middleman. We vacate and remand with instructions.

The trial court has set forth the background of this matter as follows:

On October 6, 2002, Richard A. Eazor died in a motor vehicle accident. In March of 2005 attorney William Weiler, Jr. began representing the Eazor Estate in a wrongful death civil lawsuit under a contingent fee agreement. In November of 2005, attorney Weiler signed an employment agreement with Meyer Darragh, containing these provisions:
. . . . Any and all legal work performed by Weiler will be deemed work on behalf of the Firm.
. . . . All fees for legal services performed during the term of this Agreement by Weiler or on behalf of any client originated by Weiler shall be the property of the Firm, regardless of whether the fees are received by the Firm during the term of this Agreement or after the expiration or termination of it and regardless of whether Weiler originated the client or matter prior to the effective date of

Page 895

this Agreement . . . . the Firm will have the sole right to collect fees due to it and Weiler will cooperate in the Firm's collection efforts. Further, it is agreed that any and all files relating to legal work performed by Weiler or on behalf of clients originated by Weiler shall be the property of the Firm and/or the clients and Weiler shall not remove same from the premises of the Firm, absent written permission from the Firm or written instructions by the client.
Attorney Scott Millhouse of Meyer Darragh assumed primary responsibility for the Eazor wrongful death litigation, and he was assisted by attorney Weiler, another Meyer Darragh attorney and two paralegals. Attorney Millhouse represented the Eazor Estate during two depositions, and he also drafted a three ...

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