Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
565 N.E.2d 775 (1991)
Donald Shoblom (defendant) crashed his employer’s truck into a parked trailer. Shoblom killed Susan Thompson and injured Donald Gagnon (plaintiff). Gagnon hired attorney Alan Goodman to file a lawsuit against Shoblom and Shoblom’s employer. Gagnon agreed to a contingent-fee arrangement with Goodman in which Goodman would receive 33 1/3 percent of any recovery for Gagnon. After the discovery phase of litigation, Goodman reached a settlement of $2,925,000. The trial judge approved the settlement agreement, except for the contingent fee to Goodman, which totaled $975,000. The judge held a hearing on the reasonableness of the settlement agreement. At the hearing, Gagnon testified that he signed the continent-fee agreement voluntarily and that he believed Gagnon earned the fee. No evidence was presented at the hearing to show that the fee was unreasonable. The judge ordered that Goodman’s compensation be reduced to $695,000, reasoning that anything more would be excessive and unreasonable. Goodman directly appealed the trial court’s order reducing his fee.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Nolan, J.)
Concurrence (Greaney, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 220,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.