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Somuah v. Flachs

721 A.2d 680 (1998)

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Somuah v. Flachs

Maryland Court of Appeals

721 A.2d 680 (1998)

Facts

Millicent Somuah (defendant), a Virginia resident, retained attorney Jeremy Flachs (plaintiff) in connection with a potential personal-injury claim arising out of an automobile accident that occurred in Maryland. The retainer agreement provided for a one-third contingency fee. Flachs spent time and money investigating Somuah’s possible claim. Somuah moved to Maryland and began to consider suing there. Flachs, who was not licensed in Maryland, asked a Maryland lawyer to assist him. When Flachs introduced Somuah to the Maryland attorney, he told her for the first time that he was not licensed in Maryland. Somuah discharged Flachs and refused to pay him for the reasonable value of his time and expenses. Flachs sued Somuah and obtained a favorable jury verdict. On appeal, Somuah argued that she had cause to terminate Flachs and was not required to compensate him because he failed to disclose at their initial meeting that he was not licensed in Maryland. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed the judgment for Flachs. The Maryland Court of Appeals granted Somuah’s petition for certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Chasanow, J.)

Dissent (Rodowsky, J)

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