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:
AA00008543:00079

Full Text

1/3I UNIV. OF- FL LU.



U.S. DEPO9TOIY




THE AMERICAN COMMISSIONER
MIXED CLAIMS COMMISSION
UNITED STATES AND GERMANY


DECISION NO. 31
IN THE MA'ITER 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. 7311


Gustave Davidson, Administrator of the Estate of Hartwig Davidson,
Deceased, Claimant
Peyser, Edelin & Peyser, Attorneys


CHANDLER P. ANDERSON,
American Commissioner


































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

Anwrican Commissioner




















4..* "*'









THE AMERICAN COMMISSIONER

MIXED CLAIMS COMMISSION
UNITED STATES AND GERMANY


DECISION NO. 31
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. 7311


Gwstave Davidson, Administrator of the Estate of Hartwig Davidson,
Deceased, Claimant
Peyser, Edelin & Peyser, 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, Peyser, Edelin & Peyser, of Washington, D. C.,
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 his
attorneys on the ground that it is excessive, and the attorneys have
been duly notified of the filing by the claimant of his request that a
reasonable fee be fixed. The attorneys have filed with the American
Commissioner an affidavit and a letter giving the information which
they desire to have considered by the Commissioner as showing the
reasonableness of the fee asked, which information has been brought
to the attention of the claimant, who has filed an affidavit in reply, a
copy of which has been transmitted to the attorneys.
44204--2 (215)





216


In this case an award was rendered by this Commission on Novem-*
ber 8, 1926, on behalf of the claimant, for $20,632.26, with interest ':
thereon at the rate of five per cent per annum from January 1, 1920, -
to the date of payment, which amount represents a debt consisting of .1
a Mark bank balance in the amount of Marks 128,951.31 owing as
of April 6, 1917, from the Bankhaus Adolph Davidson, Hildesheim,
Germany, to the claimant in his capacity of Administrator of the !
Estate of Hartwig Davidson. The total amount received by the .
claimant from the Treasury Department in payment of this award
is $29,686.93.
The amount of compensation asked by the attorneys for serfii6
rendered is $5,000. They make no claim for disbursemeiWts or
expenses. The claimant suggests as a reasonable fee three per cent
of the amount recovered, which would make the fee $890.61.
The claimant's suggestion as to the amount of the fee is based
on the mistaken belief that the three per cent rate fixed by Congress
in Section 20 of the Trading with the Enemy Act for attorneys'
services in collecting claims against the Alien Property Custodiaii
applied also to claims before this Commission. The American Corn-
missioner has already ruled on this question in his general Ad-
ministrative and Jurisdictional Decision of September 28, 1928, in
which he held as to the provisions above mentioned "that they can-
not properly be applied to fees for services rendered concerining
claims before this Commission."
It appears from the records of this Commission thai th6 clhift-
ant's intestate died before this claim was filed with hfie CoLmfisiiho: r
and left as his heirs at law and next of kin his wido*, Pafid DWiid-
son, and two sons, Norman bavidson and Erwin A. ]Iavidsoii. Th4 H
claimant, Gustave Davidson, who represents the Estate wds al-
pointed Administrator solely for the purpose of piose uting this
claim which both the claimant and the attorneys allege repreebhtM
the entire assets of the Estate.
It is stated in the affidavit filed by the attorneys that sMfb ::,|K
tially all of the correspondence, negotiations and confereicdt t \:i |
had with the son Erwin H. Davidson, who; acted as the heid of ..
family, and the attorneys were detained by him to prsi-oktI tW :.
claim. No agreement was made by the claimant with the6 Itofti'm
and the amount of the fee to be paid to them fot their s6rtitd I
Dot agreed upon by Mr. Erwin H. Davidson at the tidfe t we





217


retained by him on behalf of the parties interested in the Estate.
It was not until after the award had been rendered that the question
of the amount of the fee was taken up for consideration.
Notwithstanding the fact that no agreement was made by the
claimant with these attorneys, their employment by one of the parties
interested in the Estate which has been acquiesced in by the others,
and the acceptance by the Estate and the parties interested therein
of the benefits resulting from the award secured by these attorneys,
justify them in charging the claimant a reasonable fee for the serv-
ices rendered by them. Furthermore, inasmuch as this fee is to be
paid by the claimant out of the award, because this claim represented
the entire assets of the Estate, it is evident that it was understood
by the attorneys and by the claimant that the services in this cas'
were being rendered on a contingent fee basis and that the attorneys
Were to be compensated for their services only in case an' award was
niade and paid.
In February, 1928, after the award was made, and whe* C'ong'ess'
was about to pass the "Settlement of War Ciaiins Act 6f 19f0',"
making provision for the payment of the awards' of this' Commid-
sion, Mr. Erwin H. Davidson wrote to the attorneys asking to be
Advised of the amount of their fee, and int reply the attorneys
suggested a fee of $3,000 on the understanding that it be paid im-
mediately. It is stated in the attorneys' affidavit that they felt that
this. sumi was not adequate but they were willing to accept it if paid
immediately. It is also stated in their affidavit that Mr. Davidson
tacitly consented to this proposed fee and asked that the formal
| application for the payment of the award be prepared and forwarded
to him for execution. Subsequently, on March 22, 1928, Mr. David-
son wrote to the attorneys withdrawing his assent to this fee, and
thereupon the attorneys, in accordance with his wishes, prepared and
forwarded to him the formal request which he has filed with the
. :American Commissioner initiating the present proceeding for fixing
a reasonable fee in this case.
The extent and character of the services rendered by these attorneys
in prosecuting this claim are set out with considerable detail in
T the affidavit filed by them, and although in the affidavit filed by
.the claimant, Gustave Davidson, Administrator, the extent of these
services as set out by the attorneys is substantially admitted, the
valuation placed upon them by the attorneys is questioned.





218

In undertaking to decide the disputed question of valuation, as
well as in ascertaining the character and extent of the services *i
rendered, the American Commissioner has not relied wholly upon
the contentions either of the claimant or of the attorneys, but has
been assisted in reaching his conclusions by the records of this case
on file with the Commission, and he has concluded, after an examina-
tion of all the available information, that the attorneys have some-
what overestimated and the claimant has greatly underestimated the
value of the services rendered by the attorneys.
Now, therefore, considering that the payment of the attorneys'
compensation was contingent upon securing and collecting an award
and that the attorneys make no charge for any expenses or dis- -.
bursements, and considering the character and extent and value of the
services rendered by them, and in view of the circumstances above
set forth and the consideration stated in the general Jurisdictional
and Administrative Decision 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, Gustave Davidson, Administrator,
Estate of Hartwig Davidson, Deceased, to these attorneys, Peyser,
Edelin, and Peyser, in this case, the sum of Three thousand five hun-
dred dollars ($3,500), the said fee to be paid by the claimant and
received by the attorneys as full compensation for all services
rendered in the prosecution and collection of this claim, as defined
by Section 9 of the Settlement of War Claims Act of 1928."
Done at Washington, D. C., this 11th day of March, 1929.
CHANDLER P. ANDERSON,
American Commissioner,
Mixed Claims Commission,
United States and Germany.

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