Decision no. ... in the matter of fixing reasonable fees for attorneys or agents under the authority of Section 9 of the...

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Material Information

Title:
Decision no. ... in the matter of fixing reasonable fees for attorneys or agents under the authority of Section 9 of the "Settlement of War Claims Act of 1928."
At head of title:
American Commissioner
Physical Description:
v. : ; 23 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Mixed Claims Commission, United States and Germany
Publisher:
U.S. G.P.O.
Place of Publication:
Washington, D.C
Publication Date:
Frequency:
completely irregular

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
World War, 1914-1918 -- Claims -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Claims vs. Germany -- Periodicals -- United States   ( lcsh )
Genre:
serial   ( sobekcm )

Notes

Dates or Sequential Designation:
No. 1 -
General Note:
Title from cover.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 004822591
oclc - 50038280
System ID:
AA00008543:00012

Full Text
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THE AME

MIXED

UNITED


RICAN


CLAIMS

STATES


DECISION


IN THE


FIXING '
AGENTS

THE "S]


DOCKET


I UNIV. OF FL Li.


U.S.


DEP


COMMISSIONER

COMMISSION


AND


GERMANY


NO.


MATTER


FEES


FOR


ATTORNEYS


SECTION


ACT


CLAIMS


15668


THE


NO.


Francis Thayer


Claimant


CHANDLER


ANDERSON


American Commissioner


REASONABLE


UNDER


SETTLEMENT


AUTHORITY


WAR


OR
9 OF
1928"


Harold H


Neff and Underwood & Kilpatrick, Attorneys


~ rrsr '




























MIXED CLAIMS COMMISSION, UNITED STATES AND GERMANY

Established in pursuance of the Agreement between the
United States and Germany of August 10, 1922


CHANDLER P


ANDERSON


American Commissioner
(II)













THE AME

MIXED


RICAN


CLAIMS


COMMISSIONER

COMMISSION


UNITED


STATES


AND


GERMANY


DECISION NO.


IN THE MATTER OF


FIXING


AGENTS


THE


REASONABLE


FEES


FOR


UNDER THE AUTHORITY


" SETTLEMENT


WAR


ATTORNEYS
OF SECTION


CLAIMS


ACT


OR


9 OF
1928 "


DOCKET NO. 15668


Francis Thayer, Claimant

Harold H. Neff and Underwood & Kilpatrick, Attorneys


The above named claimant has duly filed with the American Com-
missioner a written request. that he fix a reasonable fee to be paid by
him to his attorneys, Harold H. Neff, of Paris, France, and Under-


wood


Kilpatrick, of Washington, D. C., as compensation for what-


ever services have been rendered by them on behalf of and with the


authority of the claimant
t


, such services being of the character de-







506


giving information


which they


desire to


have considered by


him in


this proceeding, and the claimant has filed several affidavits in reply.


The


information


filed


each


party


this


proceeding


been


brought to the attention of the other parties.


In this case an award was rendered by this Commission on Janu-


1931,


on behalf


claimant,


$830,000,


with


interest


thereon at the rate of five per cent per annum from April 1,1917


the date of payment, i
the claimant by reason


vhich amount


of the


removal


of his home


at Uccles, Belgium, by German soldiers quartered therein during the
German occupation of Brussels.


The total amount received by the claimant from the
apartment in payment of this award was $53,205.68. T


Treasury


De-


he net amount


of compensation which the attorneys sought to obtain from the claim-
ant under their agreement providing for a twenty-five per cent con-
tingent fee, after certain adjustments for expenses advanced by the


claimant,


was $13,249.28.


The claimant, on


the other hand, relying


upon the provisions of the Settlement of War Claims Act of 1928 "
granting authority to the American Commissioner to fix reasonable


[whether


fees


services
Mixed


regarded and


American


fixed
with


any


proceedings


Administration


before


fee contract


compensation
ive Decision :


adopted


general standard for attorney's fees for services rendered in


"1


claims of this character would be ample compensation for the ser


rendered by his attorneys in this proceeding.


would


the attorney's


in their


" out of regard for the dignity of our professio


Based upon those i
. The attorneys 1
an Commissioner,
n ", they do nbt ii


- the
dis- 7
d in
as a
ate"

rates
state
that
nsist


Aci~


represents


the loss suffered


of the contents


or not


in connection


Claims


under
the


contract


Commission"


that the


or agreement]


, suggests that


percentage rates of


Commissioner'


amount to


letter of May 25, 1931, to the Americ


$2,096.17


j:j


"""
:"::"







507


of attachment was granted on May 2, 1931


and the Guaranty Trust


Company


is now


holding


$17,000


cover


amount


sought by the attorneys, plus interest and cost


, if any, by virtue of


the warrant.


For the purposes of thi


uit, the firm of Chadbourne,


Stanchfield & Levy,


of New


York,


with


whose


Pari


office Mr


Neff


was associated


during the time of the


prosecution


of thi


claim


assigned the legal title to their part of the fee,
title, to the firm of Underwood & Kilpatrick.


but not the equitable
The attorneys state in


connection


with


suit


that


since


we filed


attachment


suit


solely to prevent the fund


from being taken out of the country, it is


our


desire


have


question


determined


you


[tihe


American


Commissioner]


County."


rather


than


Under the terms of a


Supreme


tipulation


Court


signed by


New
ssrs.


York
Chad-


bourne


, Stanchfield & Levy, attorneys for the plaintiff in thi


attach-


ment


and Messrs.


hes, Schurman


Dwight,


attorneys for


the defendant,


claimant


proceeding, no


motion


shall


made or any other proceeding taken by either party in the attachment
suit, or their attorneys, nor shall the answer of the defendant therein


be served upon the plaintiff


or their attorneys prior to the decision of


the American Commissioner in this proceeding


1932,
party


or before February 4,


whichever event shall first occur, unless the consent of the other


action


or his


or their


attorneys


shall


first


have


been


obtained.


In view of the attorneys' request that the American Conmniss


fix a reasonable fee for them


loner


"without regard to the contract" with


the claimant


issues


which


, it will be unnecessary to consider two of the


would


otherwise


presented


in this


case


principal
, namely,


whether


computed


or not


only


contract


upon


provided


principal amount


that


awarded


should


or on both


principal and interest,


and


whether or not the claimant was compe-


n


_







508


that


claimant


they


filed


their


from being taken


to ask the New
sioner will con


suit


solely


out of this


7 prevent
country,


the
and


York Court to fix their fees, the America:


iply with


the claimant'9


neys concur, and fix a reasonable


The sole question now


before


I


fee
;he


.request, in


funds. of


not intend
n Commis-
the attor-
Sthis case.


which


for the attorneys ir


American


value of the services rendered by these attorneys in


and


prosecution


ceeding their
It appears


services
from the


this c
'.1


Will


Jlaim,
be c


and


considered


information filed


Commissioner is


the presentation


purpose


this


r


pro-


collectively.


by the


parties to this


pro-


ceeding and from the records of this Commission that notice of this


claim


was first presented to the Department of State by


Knowlton,


an attorney


January 27, 1925.


in Boston,


that letter


Massachusetts,


he stated


Harold W.


letter


that the claimant herein


"has


this


asked me


late


German


German


day


write


you


presenting


Government,


occupation


ascertain


Claims
for dar


claim


Brussels."


if there


[n


On February


is any


Commission
aaes caused


ct


1925


chance
against


State


Department


replied


that


time


limit


filing


claims


with


this


Commission had expired


on April 9


1923


and that therefore


" it is


not in a


position to


render


Mr.


Thayer any


assistance in the matter


mentioned in your letter."


December


1928,


United


State


and


Germany


entered


into an agreement extending the jurisdiction


of this Commission to


include


so-called


"late "


claims,


and


on January


1929,


American


Agency


wrote


Mr.


Knowlton


a letter


informing


him


this agreement, and requesting him to transmit to the Agency within


thirty


days two copies of


a sworn


petition alleging the claimant's


citizenship and setting forth in detail all of the facts upon which the


claim


is based"


The


Agency's


letter
-


likewise


gave


a detailed


a ~r A


state


"
:


**! :
0 'T:: I
0


"i
d0



0i


..


51







509


documents could


obtained


within


prescribed


time


limit,


"the evidence


Agency


upon


and


that


been


the question


a proper showing


assembled
a further


by you


that


should


extension


forwarded


will


the claimant.


considered


been


diligent


efforts


Knowlton


replied


asse


mble


that


had


proof."
received


February


no word


,1929,


from


claimant


that


a search


of my


records, however


brought


statement of the goods,


which he


left


with me.


when


matter wa


first brought up some


years ago


and I


am enclosing this herewith."


The


Agency


informed


Knowlton


on March


1929


, that


statement
tional da3
Hearing


submitted


him


from that date


nothing


further


was


no value


and


would be given him


from


Mr.


that,


sixty


addi


present the claim.


Knowlton,


again


wrote him


on June.


10, 1929


asking


" whether or not


you are now in a


position


to complete the evidence


requested


Agency'


ton informed


letter of March


19'29"


the Agency that he


On June


had


heard


1929
from


Knowl-


the claimant


in response to any of hi


letters to


him and e


expressed his desire "


withdraw from any further participation in this matter"


The


serv-


ices thus rendered by


Knowlton up to the time of hi


withdrawal


from the case cannot be included in the valuation of


* attorneys
There after


services rendered


subsequently retained.


on June


1929


, the Agency add


resse


letter to the


claimant


Paris address


given


. Knowlton,


'wjvi


him that if you desire thi


office to take any action in


matter it


will be necessary for you to furn


ish the documents on or before July


1929


inasmuch as


under the A


reement


claims


must be


filed


with the Commission prior to that date"


To this letter the claimant


replied, under latee of July


, 1929, from Paris,


that


ha l


secured


services


an American


lawyer


" who


now


matter


ad ~T~ sect


"







510


from Belgian witnesses and that "my


balance of the claim in order and mail it so that it should reach j


before August 1."


was H


who was associated at that time with the Paris office


Stanchfield


Levy.


this


connection,


should be noted that the claimant contends that he knew nothing


between Mr.


Neff


and


the firm


associated, and insists that it was his intention


prosecute


this claim.


view


with


which


to employ


of the


Mr. i~


fact that wh


ever amount of compensation may be received, if any, by Chadbour


Stanchfield & Levy will be included in


Mr. Neff, and will not in any manner increase the amount of the


by the claimant,


the American


holds t


the foregoing contention of the claimant is unimportant for the p


poses of this proceeding.


June


1931,


this proceeding, Mr.


filed


Neff


consulted him about this case the latter part of


1929, after the


receipt


by the


with


American


June or the beg


American lawyer will get 1


mentioned letter of June


1929, from


the American Agency.


this


conference


Mr.


Neff


informed


claimant


that


would


necessary to employ counsel in


Washington, and,


with the consent of


claimant


firm


Underwood


Kilpatrick


was


chosen.


Thereafter the claimant,


Chadbourne


patrick,


agreed


pay


services


correspondence with


a contingent


attorneys,


and


on July


1929,


per cent for


Paris office of


01
<0

0<":


power of attorney authorizing the firm of Underwood & Kilpatrick,
An nnri -rrh TntmTn rv\ +r1P d-b fi Arm +n. adr- hta m 4hQ nrnoaolInn n4 hVa


he executed


The "American lawyer"


the




of
it






to






hat oII






om-
aint-





eirt
fee



om- K


old H. Neff
Messrs. Ch


adbourne,


,to whom the claimant referred,


relationship


personally to


to be


paid


the portion of the fee due


affidavit


Commissioner


missioner in


nmg


July,


states that the claimant i


claimant


, Stahchfield & Levy, and the firm of Underwood & Kil-


fee of twenty-five


f




b


E


",




:


dally
him i


during the


)y the


State


World


War


Department),


(including three


and


describing


passport


how


S issue
house


i to
was


taken over by German soldiers.


This petition,


with its accompany-


ing exhibits,


was filed by


Underwood & Kilpatrick with


the Ameri-


can Agency on July 27, 1929, four days before the expiration of the


time


limit fixed


by the Agreement


between


United


States


and


Germany for the filing of evidence in all so-called late claims.


On August 2, 1929,


Underwood & Kilpatrick,


upon the request of


the American Agency, furnished English translations of four of the


documents


filed


with


petition,


originals


thereof


being


French.


The claim


was duly


filed


with


Commission


by the


American


Agency, and,


on February 3,


1930, the Agency forwarded to


Under-


wood and Kilpatrick a copy of the Answer, together with supporting


proof, filed by the German Agent in


this claim.


In its Answer the


German
citizen:


Government admitted


that the claimant


was


an American


that he was a painter residing in Brussels in the year


1914


that


residence


and


studio


was


equipped


with


furnishings


and


paintings belonging to him; that he left Brussels some time


in No-


vember,


1915


which


time


residence


there


still


contained, his


furnishings


and paintings, and


that upon his return


Brussels


December, 1918, he found his studio empty and his household effects


and


paintings missing.


The


German


Government denied, however,


that the claimant'


property was


removed


or destroyed


Germari.


armed. forces, or that German troops were ever quartered in his resi-


dence and hence
this connection w
failed to establish


contended
as not wo


that


rthy


the info
credence,


)rmation


and


value of his property


given


alleged


that


hin
he


had


competent evidence.


In its letter transmitting the German Answer to the attorneys, the-
Agency requested them to furnish rebuttal proof on or before March


511


~3~E:..


r I


s<


T --







512

claimant's contention that German soldiers had been responsible for


its loss.


These documents were transmitted by these attorneys to the


American Agent on February 27, 1930, and were duly filed with the


Commission.


The English translations of all of the above mentioned


documents in French


were prepared by


Underwood


& Kilpatrick.


acknowledging


above


documents,


American


Agency


informed


these attorneys that


if they


desired


file a


brief


this


case,


they should


do so on


or before


April


1930.


The attorneys


in their letter of March 11, 1930, to the American Agency, expressed


their
May


desire


1930,


a brief,


within


and


which


The


an extension


extension


was


granted


Commission.


This


brief


was


prepared


Underwood


Kilpatrick, countersigned by the American Agent and filed with


Commission


on May


1930.


contained


an elaborate


and


tailed


analysis of the allegations of the


claim and


issues


raised


by the German Government in its Answer.


On July
additional
attorneys,


1930,


evidence
especially


German


attacking


evidence


Agent


filed


with


evidence


filed


value


these


paintings


belonging to


the claimant.


Further


rebuttal


evidence


was


filed


these attorneys on


German


Agent.


This


1930,


rebuttal


in reply to


evidence


evidence


consisted


filed
three


affidavit


executed


claimant


himself


and


in French


a French art expert,


English


translation


of which


was


prepared


by these attorneys.
Soon thereafter the Commission held a session at Hamburg and at
the request of the American Agent the Commission heard oral argu-


ment


on this


claim


government


counsel


on both


sides.


this


hearing several paintings by the claimant were submitted as evidence


the claimant'


ability


as an artist


transportation


which


requested


time


rebuttal


as to


Commission


September







513


Kilpatrick on


October 6, 1930,


presenting detailed


arguments


as to


the value of claimant's own paintings.
No further services were thereafter rendered by these attorneys.
After the hearing at Hamburg, the Commission itself took charge


of this case, and


through its


Umpire obtained an


opinion from an


impartial


expert> in


France


on the


claimant's


artistic


abilities


and


the value of his paintings.


The Commission then, after conferences


with the Agents, received from the German Agent an offer of settle-


ment for $30,000,


with interest at the rate of five per cent per annum


from April 1, 1917, instead of from November


11, 1918, representing


an addition


approximately eight


cent


amount


of the


claim


, which was one of the items in dispute.


This offer was for the


full


settlement


paintings,


entire


the other


lost


claim,


including


property


as well


only


and it


lost


proved


be satisfactory to,


and


was accepted by, the claimant,


and the Com-


mission made its. award accordingly.


the other hand,


the services rendered by the claimant'


attor-


were


exceptionally


useful:


and


difficult


character.


Through the inaction and apparent lack of interest in this claim on


part of the


claimant


until


very near the end


of the


time


limit


within


which


necessary


Pari


and


could.


the claimant
Washington,


presented


this


ultimately


and


call


Commission,


employ


upon


attorneys


them


became


both


present


Washington


within a


period


scarcely more


than


one month this


claim and the supporting evidence.


This task involved the examin-


action of official records and of witnesses in Belgium and France,


and


the preparation and execution of affidavits, and securing documentary


evidence there, all of which had to be forwarded to


Washington and


filed with the Commission within the very limited time above noted.
This seemingly impossible task was accomplished by these attorneys.


;~




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with the American Agency staff, and in other ways, also, aided the
Commission in dealing with the evidence and in arriving at a


ions are suficient


themselh


the fee for these attorneys at a higher valuation


Yes to justify ix
n than would result


from
the .


the application


American


of the


Commissioner's


ate adopted as a
Administrative


General standard


Decision


August 80, 1980, which rate the claimant asks to have applied in this
case.


view


of the considerations above set forth


and


of the contin-


gent character of the


arrangement


under which


the claim


was


prosecuted, making the attorneys' compensation dependent upon se-
curing and collecting an award, and also of the claimant's willing-


ness, as indicated by


his interpretation of hi


agreement


with


these


attorneys, to pay a fee equal to twenty-five per cent of the principal


award,


excluding


interest,


which


would


amount


$7,500, and of the delay already incurred in paying this fee with the
resulting loss of interest thereon, and of the considerations stated in
the general Jurisdictional and Administrative Decision rendered by


the American


Commissioner under date of September 28,


1928, and


after careful examination and full consideration of the information


furnished in this proceeding by the attorneys and


the claimant and


by the records of this Commission pertinent to the questions involved,


and after due deliberation thereon.


The


American


Commissioner


decides


and


fixes


as the


reasonable


fee to be paid by the claimant, Francis Thayer, to his said attorneys,


Harold H. Neff and Underwood & Kilpatrick, in this case,


the sum


otf Eight Thousand Dollars


($8,000), te said


fee to


be paid by the


claimant and received by the attorneys as full


compensation for all


services rendered bv them in


the nronTentinR. asand


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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

1262 08484IIII 116II II
3 1262 08484 1716