Kopec v. Myers

In these ten one-sided appeals, which the New Jersey Appellate Division consolidated, Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group LLC (“the firm”), challenged the denial of its motions to enforce the terms of its retainer agreement (“RA”) to obtain a judgment against its former clients for unpaid fees, or to compel the former clients to submit to binding arbitration to resolve the parties’ fee disputes. The firm filed motions to enforce the RAs in the underlying matrimonial matters and sought entry of a judgment for the unpaid fees. The trial courts denied the motions. The Appellate Division affirmed and held that the firm was not entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law in any cases because the proofs it submitted were inadequate to permit a judge to determine whether the fees sought were reasonable. The firm’s certifications in support of its motions did not adequately address the factors in RPC 1.5(a). Moreover, “given the confusing, contradictory and improper language included in the RA,” the Court was convinced the trial courts did not err in declining to compel the firm’s former clients to submit to binding arbitration.

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