Civil Procedure Keyed to Cound
Daniel J. Hartwig Associates, Inc. v. Kanner
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Defendant, an environmental and toxic injury lawyer, hired Plaintiff as an expert witness in a number of his trial cases. Pursuant to the contract between them, Defendant did not pay Plaintiff for his firm’s services stating that he did not have the money to pay him. Plaintiff asked Defendant to sign a promissory note for each of the cases he worked on for Defendant with the understanding that interest was to accrue until the due date and that Defendant would pay reasonable attorney costs involved in claiming the funds due. Defendant still did not pay and Plaintiff brought a breach of contract suit. Defendant did not show up to trial or present any witnesses. At the close of evidence, the district court judge directed verdict for Plaintiff – $40,725.04 the amount due in services rendered and interest and $3,500.00 for attorney’ fees in collecting payment. Defendant appealed arguing that the district court was precluded from directing verdict for Plaintiff because there was a material issue of fact as to whether the contract was void due to Plaintiff’s misrepresentations prior to entering the contract. Defendant alleged that Plaintiff misrepresented his educational background and did not disclose the existence of Plaintiff’s second company, an asbestos removal company, which created a conflict of interest with respect to Defendant’s environmental legal work.
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