Monday, June 30, 2008

No-Fault Attorney's Fees Awarded "Per Claim"

New York Hosp. Med. Center of Queens a/a/o William Guerrdiaz v. Countrywide Ins. Co.
(Sup. Ct., Nassau Co., decided 6/16/2008)

Although the Third Department's December 2007 decision in LMK Psychological Servs., P.C. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., seems to have resolved the measure of attorney's fees as being on a "per claim" basis in the lower courts, the question of what constitutes a "claim" remains unaddressed and undecided. This decision adds nothing new, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Arthur Diamond holding that "[a]n attorney may be entitled to a fee for each claim, rather than a single fee when multiple causes of action are bundled". In this case, the two causes of action of the complaint were on behalf of two different assignors and assignees, so it is not surprising that the court awarded the maximum attorney's fee of $850 for the plaintiff's first cause of action, which sought payment of $2,796.15.

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