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Fourchon Docks, Inc. v. Milchem Inc.

849 F.2d 1561 (1988)

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Fourchon Docks, Inc. v. Milchem Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

849 F.2d 1561 (1988)

Facts

Caillouet, Inc., assigned a property lease to Fourchon Docks, Inc. (Fourchon) (plaintiff). With Caillouet’s consent, Fourchon subleased a portion to Milchem Inc. (defendant). The sublease prohibited further subleases without the written consent of Fourchon and Caillouet. The sublease also provided that if the sublessor had to retain an attorney to collect monies due under the sublease, the sublessee would pay an additional 20 percent of the amount due. Milchem subleased the property without the consent of Fourchon or Caillouet. Fourchon sued Milchem for breach of the anti-sublease provision. The court awarded damages for breach of the sublease and initially awarded attorneys’ fees as stipulated in the sublease provision. After another hearing, the initial fee award was reduced to the reasonable value of legal services rendered to Fourchon. To calculate the fee award, the court multiplied the number of attorney hours worked by an hourly rate that it considered reasonable. Milchem appealed, and Fourchon cross-appealed to challenge the reduction of the attorneys’-fee award, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction to review the contractual fee agreement and erred in failing to fix a maximum reasonable amount and consider all the factors listed in Rule of Professional Conduct (RPC) 1.5(a).

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

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