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Felger v. Nichols

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
370 A.2d 141 (Md. 1977)


Facts

Milton R. Felger (plaintiff) hired Zane G. Nichols (defendant) to represent him in a divorce. A dispute arose, and Felger refused to pay $345 in legal fees. Nichols sued Felger in the District Court of Maryland on June 21, 1974 to recover the $345. At trial, Felger argued that the fees were unreasonable, because Nichols’s services were unsatisfactory. The court found in favor of Nichols. In a separate action, Felger filed suit against Nichols for legal malpractice. Nichols filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that the earlier trial court had considered Felger’s malpractice claims and found in Nichols’s favor. Thus, Nichols argued that Felger was collaterally estopped from raising the malpractice claim in the second lawsuit. Felger argued that he was not permitted to litigate the malpractice issue in the previous case due to the jurisdictional limits of the first court and the judge’s error sustaining a single objection. Summary judgment was entered in Nichols’s favor. Felger appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Davidson, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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