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:
AA00008543:00071

Full Text













THE AMERICAN COMMISSIONER

MIXED CLAIMS COMMISSION

UNITED STATES AND GERMANY


DECISION NO. 22

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"


DOCKET NO. 4836


Howard Fleming, doing business under the name of Fleming and
Company, Claimant
Bigham, Englar &d Jones, Attorneys


CHANDLER P. ANDERSON,
A merican Commissioner


1929


































MIXED CLAIMS COMMISSION, UNITED STATES AND GERMANY 3

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



CHANDLER P. ANDERSON
American Comnmissioner

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THE AMERICAN COMMISSIONER

MIXED CLAIMS COMMISSION

UNITED STATES AND GERMANY


DECISION NO. 22

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"


DOCKET NO. 4836


Howard Fleming. doing business under the name of Fleming and
Company, Claiman.t
Bigham., Englar & Jones, 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, Bigham, Englar & Jones, of New York City,
N. Y., as compensation for whatever services have been rendered by
them on behalf of and with the authority of the said claimant., such
services being of the character described in the provisions of Section
9 of the "Settlement of War Claims Act of 1928 ".
The claimant has objected to the amount of the fee asked by the
attorneys on the ground that it is excessive, and the attorneys have
been notified of the filing by the claimant of this request that a rea-
sonable fee be fixed. The attorneys, in response to a request by the
American Commissioner for information which they might desire to
28146D--29 (151)




152 i

have considered by him as showing the reasonableness of the fee
asked by them, replied by letter that in view of the small amount
involved we do not desire to make any additional outlay of expenses
in the preparation of the formal proof which you suggest. We are
entirely prepared to accept in payment of our services whatever fee
you may determine to be due from an examination of the case, having 4'
before you the correspondence and documents of the United States .iR
Agency." This letter from the attorneys has been brought to the
attention of the claimant, who has filed a letter in reply, a copy of
which has been transmitted to the attorneys.
In this case an award was rendered by this Commission on January .
30, 1925, on behalf of the claimant, for $1,800, with interest thereon '
at the rate of five per cent per annum from August 19, 1915, to the ;i
date of payment, which amount represents the value of a quantity .of S
quarry tile belonging to the claimant which was lost when the steam-
ship Arabic ", on which it had been shipped, was sunk by a German ?
submarine on August 19, 1915. 24
The amount of the fee asked by the attorneys as compensation for t
their services is fifteen per cent of the amount received by the claim-
ant from the Treasury Department in payment of the award in this
case. The attorneys state that a cash retainer of $25.00 to cover inci-
dental expenses in connection with this claim was paid by the claim- .
ant to the attorneys and that the payment of the fee above referred
to was contingent upon a successful recovery. '.
The attorneys' letter does not contain a statement of the services
rendered by them and the letter from the claimant sets out the at- I
torneys' services in an indefinite manner. The American Commis- 2
sioner is, therefore, in effect referred by them to the records of this .
Commission as the basis for determining the amount and value of !
the attorneys' services. 4
It appears from these records that this claim was originally taken
up with the State Department on February 15, 1916, on behalf of the
claimant by Messrs. Steele, DeFriese & Steele, of New York City, :|
who originally acted as his attorneys, but the present attorneys were
later substituted for them, and thej are not parties to these proceed- j|
ings. Both the claimant and the present attorneys agree that the :
claimant retained them at the suggestion of the former attorneys to :;
prosecute this claim.





153


Accordingly, on December 15, 1922, the claimant executed a power
of attorney in favor of these attorneys, Bigham, Englar & Jones,
authorizing them '" to present, argue, enforce, defend, answer or
oppose, compromise or settle, release, collect and receive payment
for any and all rights and/or interests and,or claims" which the
claimant had or might have had against the German and,.or Aus-
trian Governments as a consequence of the war.
These attorneys, on December 30, 1922, submitted to the State
Department a document described by them as a memorial asking
the Department to present this claim to the Mixed Claims Commis-
sion, at the same time stating that it had been impossible to ascer-
tain the amount of items of such claims or to assemble proofs in
support thereof or to prepare a more formal memorial thereon, and
asking leave thereafter to amend the memorial then submitted and
to supply such additional allegations and proofs as may be proper.
On January 8, 1923, the American Agency, by reference from the
State Department, acknowledged the receipt of the above mentioned
document.
Subsequently, on April 16, 1923, these attorneys filed with this
Commission the formal memorial in this claim accompanied by the
necessary supporting documents, alleging a total loss to this claim-
ant of $2,114.53, including the invoice value of the property lost, the
loss of profits on contracts, and cabling expenses incident to the loss.
Nothing further was done with reference to this claim until August
1, 1924, when the Acting German Agent offered to consent to the
entry of an award by this Commission in favor of the claimant for
the amount subsequently awarded. This offer was based princi-
pally upon the fact that Germany had previously admitted responsi-
bility for the sinking of the Arabic."
This offer was communicated to these attorneys by the American
Agency on August 2, 1924. These attorneys replied to the American
Agency on August 12, 1924, submitting a copy of a letter from the
claimant strenuously objecting to the amount offered by the Acting
German Agent in settlement of this claim and suggesting that the
Acting German Agent be induced to consent to the payment of the
claim in full. The Acting German Agent subsequently refused to
increase the amount of his offer, and on September 13, 1924, this
refusal was communicated to these attorneys. Thereafter, on October





154


7, 1924, the attorneys informed the Agency that the claimant had .;
consented to the offer originally proposed by the Acting German
Agent, which ultimately was embodied in the award of this Com-
mission. The total amount received by the claimant from the
Treasury Department in payment. of this award amounted to
$2,957.33.
Subsequent to the date of this award, this claimant made several
vigorous protests against the award made by this Commission on the
ground that these attorneys had wrongfully induced him to consent
to the offer of the Acting German Agent, and had not properly looked
after his interests before this Commission. In answer to these pro-
tests the American Agency wrote to the claimant, stating that "this
is now a matter between you and your attorneys" and that "this
matter has received the attention of this Agency, and
if you can establish that you did not authorize the acceptance of the
offer of the German Agent, it is suggested that you prepare a peti--
tion, requesting that. the claim be reopened and if you furnish
satisfactory evidence to the Agency, a motion will be made to the
Commission requesting the reopening of the claim and the entire
matter will be submitted to the Commission for its determination
of the amount actually due you ". Nothing further with reference I
to this claim was heard from the claimant by the American Agency. -:
No brief on any question of law or fact was filed by these attorneys 4
with the American Agent, and no conferences were held by them. :
with the American Agent or his representatives. :j
Now, therefore, considering the character and extent and value of:
the services rendered by these attorneys, and that the payment of
compensation therefore was contingent on securing and collecting an
award, and in view of the considerations stated in the Americans'
Commissioner's general Jurisdictional and Administrative Decisiog
of September 28, 1928, and after careful examination and full conq
sideration of the information furnished in this proceeding by the";i
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, Howard Fleming, to his said attorneys, K
Bigham, Englar & Jones, in this case, the sum of two hundred and





155


fifty dollars ($250), in addition to the twenty-five dollars ($25.00)
already paid by the claimant to these attorneys, the said fee to be
paid by the claimant and received by the attorneys as full compensa-
tion for all services rendered in the prosecution and collection of this
claim, as defined in Section 9 of the SettJement of War Claims
Act of 1928 ".
Done at Washington, D. C., this 27th day of December, 1928.
CHANDLER P. ANDERSON,
A merican Conmnissio-ner,
Mixed Claims Commission,
United States and Germany.




UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

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