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Fidelity National Title Insurance Co. v. Intercounty National Title Insurance. Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
310 F.3d 537 (2002)


Facts

Fidelity National Title Insurance (plaintiff) sued Intercounty National Title Insurance Company and four other entities and individuals (defendants), claiming that $20 million in real estate escrow accounts under the defendants’ control had vanished. The defendants hired Myron M. Cherry & Associates LLC (Cherry), a small firm of only four lawyers, to represent them in the litigation. The defendants promised to pay Cherry an hourly fee for Cherry’s services and reimburse Cherry for expenses. The defendants fell behind in payments to Cherry. Cherry made a motion to withdraw as counsel for the defendants. At the time Cherry made the motion to withdraw, the defendants owed Cherry over $430,000. Cherry filed the motion to withdraw after the close of discovery and before the beginning of trial. Cherry informed the court that it anticipated costs rising to over $1 million if Cherry were forced to continue the case through to trial. During a hearing on Cherry’s motion to withdraw, the district judge asked each party whether it would experience prejudice if Cherry were permitted to withdraw. Each party responded that it would not experience prejudice. Nonetheless, the district judge denied Cherry’s motion to withdraw and later denied a second motion to withdraw filed by Cherry, because the judge believed the motion was filed too late. Cherry appealed the district court’s decision not to permit Cherry to withdraw as counsel.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Easterbrook, 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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