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Barngrover v. Pettigrew

Supreme Court of Iowa
104 N.W. 904 (1905)


Barngrover (plaintiff), an attorney, and Hughes (plaintiff), a detective, entered into an agreement with J.S. Pettigrew (defendant) to represent him in a divorce proceeding. The agreement provided that the plaintiffs would produce evidence and secure Pettigrew a divorce from his wife. In return, Pettigrew would pay Barngrover $1,000 if either (1) Barngrover secured Pettigrew a divorce or (2) Barngrover was unsuccessful because Pettigrew interfered with the case and prevented Barngrover from obtaining a divorce. It also provided that if Barngrover could not obtain a divorce for reasons other than Pettigrew interfering, Barngrover could retain only $25.00. Barngrover filed a petition to recover fees for services rendered during the divorce proceedings. Barngrover alleged that the divorce suit was compromised and that Pettigrew’s wife was permitted to secure a divorce with no opposition. At trial, there was a directed verdict for Pettigrew after the close of the evidence. Barngrover appealed and sought to recover fees.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Sherwin, C.J.)

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