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Daynard v. Ness, Motley, Loadholt, Richardson & Poole, P.A.

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
290 F.2d 42 (2002)


Facts

Ness, Motley, Loadholt, Richardson & Poole, P.A. (Ness Motley) and Scruggs Millette (defendants) were two Mississippi law firms jointly engaged in tobacco litigation. In 1993, a Ness Motley partner went to Boston, Massachusetts to hire Northeastern University law professor Richard Daynard (plaintiff) to assist. Daynard communicated with, advised, and conducted projects for both firms. Ness Motley first paid Daynard an hourly rate, but Mr. Motley and Mr. Scruggs later told Daynard he would be compensated as a team member. In August 1996, Scruggs promised Daynard a five percent share of any fees on behalf of both firms. Daynard continued to work and incur expenses without compensation. In July 1997, Daynard wrote Scruggs a letter detailing his expenses and recapping the fee agreement. Scruggs did not reply. Months later, Daynard wrote to Scruggs and Motley, who denied payment because of Daynard’s nonsupport of new tobacco legislation. Daynard claimed he was unaware of this duty. Daynard sued both firms in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts for breach of contract. Ness Motley did not contest personal jurisdiction. Scruggs Millette filed a motion to dismiss due to lack of personal jurisdiction, which was granted. Daynard appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

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Holding and Reasoning (Lynch, J.)

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