i EAMERICAN COMMISSIONER ,
MIXED CLAIMS COMMISSION
,UNITED STATES AND GERMANY
DECISION NO. 12
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SEASONABLE,. FES.,, FOR ATTORNEYS OR.
S UND.EAR.THE AUTHORITY, OF .SECTION 9 OF'.
SETTLEMENT OF WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1928 '
DOCIJET. NOQ. .7422
Charles A. M.artell Claimant
'. ward A. Vosseler, Attorney
CHANDLER P. ANDERSON,
U.S. GOYBBiNMA T .NO '. O'18
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MIXED CLAIMS COMMISSION, UNITED STATES AND GE
Established in pursuance of the Agreement between the
United States and Germany of August 10, 1922
CHANDLER P. ANDERSON
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STHE AMERICAN COMMISSIONER
MIXED CLAIMS COMMISSION
UNITED STATES AND GERMANY
DECISION NO. 12
; "IN THE MATTER OF
ftNG REASONABLE FEES FOR ATTORNEYS OR
AGENTS UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF SECTION 9 OV
$E SETTLEMENT OF WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1928 "
DOCKET NO. 7128
Charles A. Martell, Claimant
Edward A. Vosseler, Attorney
eI& above named claimant has duly filed with the American Com-
0oner a written request that he fix a reasonable fee to be paid
?t"im to his attorney, Edward A. Vosseler, of New York City,
compensation for whatever services have been rendered by 'him
iliailf'of and with the authority of the said claimant, such serv-
eiagng of the character described in the provisions of Section 9
6" "^Settlement of War Claims Act of 1928 ".
...e attorney has been duly notified of the filing by the claimant
ab. request that a .reasonable fee be fixed, and the. attorney has
ktnith, the American Commissioner an affidavit giving the infor-
JI' which he desires to have considered by the Commissioner
oiowimg the redsonableness of the fee asked, which information
j g erouht t the attention of the claimant. The claimant
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makes no objection to the statements contained in the attorneye',
affidavit, and replies simply that the attorney's affidavit "is correc ,ial:,::;
and proper in every respect ".
In this case an award was rendered by this Commission on Novem
ber 8, 1926, on behalf of the claimant, for $800.00, with interest
thereon at the rate of five per cent per annum from tNovember 15,
1916, to the date of payment, which amount represents the value:
of personal property belonging to the claimant lost through the sink
ing on November 15, 1916, of the steamship "Columbian" by a Ger-,
man submarine. The claimant was a member of the Columbian nWs:
crew in the capacity of Quartermaster.
It appears from the attorney's affidavit that on January 21, 1926-,::.
the claimant's wife, Kathryn Martell, acting on behalf of the claim-
ant, orally authorized the attorney to represent the claimant beift
this Commission in the prosecution of this claim, on the understaUd-
ing that the said attorney was to receive compensation (amount ndot: .
mentioned) for his services, and to be reimbursed for expenses,<:
only in case an award was made and paid. The attorney requests
that his fee be fixed at $225, including cash disbursements, and
expenses for clerical work, which he estimates as amounting to
The sole question to be decided, therefore, is what is the reasonable
fee to be paid to the attorney in this case ?
The American Commissioner stated in his Administrative and
Jurisdictional Decision of September 28, 1928, certain considerations
entering into the determination, in these proceedings, of the reason-:;::::
ableness of fees to be paid under contingent fee agreements, and
among others the following: "I
This basis of compensation is one with which the legal profession is- entirely :'i
familiar, but when applied to the prosecution of claims before an international :.
-commission a new element is introduced which is not found in eases prosecute .
in a court where the attorney has the entire responsibility for the conduct of th.t.,.
litigation. This new element is that the Government of the United State:s :::i
has taken the full responsibility and control in the presentation of all aiicblt
before this Commission. Attorneys for claimants have not been permitttqd.,i
appear before the Commission and they have been allowed to file brier.fs.Q;,
with the approval and endorsement of the American Agent. The GoveriMO.
not only has established by the Treaty of Peace with Germany the right
recovery, where such right exists, but it has also established a govern,...,
organization for the presentation of these claims, and has borne all the.et.pens
Sthe.presantation of claims and performed the major part of the work
: their Drosecution, and in many cases has done everything connected
.th, except the production of evidence, and not infrequently it has been
L instruct the claimants' attorneys as to what evidence was needed to
he claim, and also to assist them in procuring it. (p. '9.)
4e. considerations are preeminently applicable to the present
Om the time it was filed until the award was made.
ihp beginning the question arose, on' technical grounds, as to
i or not the claim could be treated as filed in time for this
ssion to take jurisdiction. When this attorney first wrote to
hnjerican Agency about this claim in January, 1926, the time
Ufr filing claims under the Agreement between the United
ld Germany establishing this Commission had long since
id. This difficulty was overcome by the American Agent with-
i)Q. assistance or intervention of this attorney, solely on the
that this claimant's name already appeared in the records of
Commission' as a member of the crew of the steamship Colum-
,:a vessel of American registry, which had been sunk by a Ger-
:submnarine. All of this information, including the fact that he
signed. shipping articles as a member of the Columbian's crew,
4i r ady in the possession of the American Agency, and for that
?T and through the courtesy of the German Agent, this claim
ipermiitted to be filed and presented to this Commission.
facts above recited are essential to the support of this claim,
IY are alleged in the petition subsequently prepared by this
Slbut for the reasons above stated the attorney was not re-
.ythe Agency to furnish any evidence establishing these facts.
% Petition consists of an affidavit by the claimant, typewritten
heet of paper, and the only other allegations in it are that he
merican citizen, and that certain specified property belong-
i ,of the value alleged, had been lost through the sinking
0 C!:olumbian." In support of the claimant's allegation of
t&an citizenship, this attorney filed two affidavits. One of them
MM., o by the attorney himself stating that he had known the
c f or, seven years past, and that in his opinion the claimant
$epc~an born citizen, his opinion being based on information
p:'om relatives and friends of the claimant. The other
was sworn to by a friend of the claimant, who stated that he
had known him for some sixteen years and that in consequence
long acquaintance and frequent conversations with his relative *
friends, it was his belief that the claimant was an American ci'tizit.
The American Agency rejected both of these affidavits as ins nt
to establish the claimant's American citizenship on the ground that
they did not comply with the requirements of the rules of this ,Com-
mission, and suggested that inasmuch as the claimant was reported
to have been born in Boston, Massachusetts, the attorney' should
obtain from the official records there a certificate of his birth. Nch
certificate of birth was afterwards procured and filed by the attorney.
In support of the value and ownership and loss of the pers l.I
property, for the loss of which damages were claimed, th diP
evidence submitted by the attorney with the petition was a soheiile.
attached to it, which consists of one typewritten page of the if
and value of the property lost, sworn to by the claimant as a
of the personal property owned by him and lost when the "C -
bian" was sunk. The Agency also found this evidence insudl
to establish all of the damages alleged, and called upon the attoii
for further evidence to establish that the claimant had with hi.
the personal property set out in this, schedule and the value ttl e ,
"particularly as to several of the larger items, to wit, the dipmd .d
ring of the value of $450; stick pin, $125; and cash $378.28.d
this respect, however, the Agency made an alternative suggestion o'
the effect that as the result of an informal discussion between n e
American and the German Agents, the latter was willing, wifout
additional evidence as to the value of the articles of personal pr -
erty claimed for, to assent to an award for. $800, being less thafoidnhd
half of the total amount claimed, with interest thereon from o 6 -
ber 15, 1916, at the rate of five per cent per annum, until the dat of.
No further evidence in support of this claim was filed onh b:' "^
of the claimant, and on the basis of the offer of the German At :iEh: 4
an award was rendered for the sum of $800, with interest thsf .
as proposed. .
It is clear from the facts above recited that this is one of 6the .. :
which the American Commissioner referred to in his Admini.tttile .
and Jurisdictional Decision when he said that the Age cy 15 .sM : I.....
by the United States Government for the presentation of'tiies '44
"' their prosecution, and, in many cases, has done everything
edl therewith, except the presentation of evidence,, and not in-
B -y it has been obliged to instruct the claimants' attorneys
ltO evidence was needed to establish the claim, and also to
-in procuring it."
ithe other services rendered by this attorney, the correspond-
wegen the attorney and the American Agency, which he lists
bdavit as part of the services rendered by him in this case,
so far as it appears in the files of the Agency, of five letters,
~,taof which asks for information as to what affidavits or papers
presented in order to have this claim considered. The second
pi4ks' for an extension of two weeks time in which to file the
ein support of the claim. The third is a covering letter
the petition and supporting affidavits. The fourth is a
.g* letter inclosing the birth certificate of the claimant asked
ii thAgency, and reporting the claimant's inability to furnish
jslitional information on account of a recent operation which
IS.. him to a hospital. The fifth, and final, letter was written
k|ie date of the award, and inquires about the status of the claim.
4 these letters contains six typewritten lines, and the others are
l)i::ee'to five typewritten lines in length.
: (ttorney has not submitted for the consideration of the Com-
ioper any of the other correspondence listed in his affidavit.
|iH$r as appears from the records of this Commission, as well as
ruie attorney's affidavit, no other services were rendered by this
iyin this case, which call for the consideration of the American
iasioner in fixing his fee, except that he had four conferences
>he claimant's wife while he was preparing the claim, when she
in behalf of the claimant, who was incapacitated by illness.
brief on any question of law or fact was filed by this attorney
cthe American Agent, and no conferences were held by him with
lrerican Agent or his representatives.
tibove noted, the attorney estimates his cash disbursements and
Ees in this case at approximately $18, but he does not file an
)"d account thereof. He further states that he makes no separate
:.Ir such expenses but includes them in his charge for services,
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which is given due weight by. the American: :ConWaissioinert i ....
a reasonable fee for his services. .
Now, therefore, considering that the payment .o their 4aIt
compensation was contingent upon securing and collecting ja ."'
and considering the character and extent and .value of the
rendered by him, and in view of the considerations. stated
in the general Jurisdictional and Administrative Decision.=fi
ber 28, 1928, and after careful examination, and full conisid'
the information furnished in this proceeding by the attorho1i
claimant and by the records of this Commission pertinefint to
tions involved, and after due deliberation thereon, .,
The American Commissioner decides and fixes as-the reas
to be paid by the claimant, Charles A. Martell, to his said a
Edward A. Vosseler, in this case, the sum of one hundreds
($100), the said fee to be paid by the claimant, and received
attorney as full compensation for all services rendered in the 6
tion and collection of this claim, as defined in Section r9.
"Settlement of War Claims Act of 1928 ".
Done at Washington, D. C., this 21st day of November, 928
CHANDLER P. ANDEMSON, '
A merican Co mm4miioner,.
Mixed Claime Coms i
United States and QC j
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