Venegas v. Mitchell
United States Supreme Court
495 U.S. 82 (1990)
Venegas (defendant) retained Mitchell (plaintiff) as his attorney in a civil rights claim. The two signed a contingent-fee agreement whereby Mitchell would be paid 40 percent of the gross amount of any recovery by Venegas. 42 U.S.C. § 1988 provided that a court may award reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in a civil rights action. In the civil rights action, Venegas won and the court awarded him $117,000 in attorney’s fees, $75,000 of which was to go to Mitchell for his proportion of work done in the case. Mitchell then asserted a lien against the proceeds of the judgment, claiming that he was owed his portion of the 40 percent contingency fee as well. Venegas claimed that the court-awarded attorney’s fees were reasonable and superseded and invalidated Venegas’s obligation to pay the 40 percent contingency fee. The district court found in favor of Mitchell, awarding him his portion of the 40 percent and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (White, 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 708,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead 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.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 708,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 44,500 briefs, keyed to 983 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.