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Galanis v. Lyons & Truitt

Indiana Supreme Court
715 N.E.2d 858 (1999)


Facts

Suzanne Brown was injured in a car accident. Brown hired Lyons & Truitt (plaintiff) to represent her, subject to a contingency-fee arrangement, under which Lyons & Truitt would receive one-third of any proceeds from the case. Lyons & Truitt worked on the case for two and a half years before Robert Truitt was appointed to be a judge, at which point Brown discharged the firm. In the firm’s place, Brown hired Michael Galanis (defendant), subject to a contingency-fee arrangement, promising Galanis 40 percent of the gross proceeds from the case. Brown settled the case for $250,000. Lyons & Truitt filed suit, seeking compensation for its work on the case. Brown filed a cross-claim against Galanis, seeking a judgment that Galanis, not Brown, was required to pay any compensation due to Lyons & Truitt. The trial court found that Galanis was responsible for paying Lyons & Truitt a reasonable hourly rate for its services rendered, commensurate with the hourly rate of a community attorney charging for similar services. Both parties appealed. The court of appeals affirmed. The Indiana Supreme Court granted review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Boehm, J.)

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