Contracts Keyed to Calamari
White v. McBride
The Plaintiff, Frank White (the "Plaintiff"), was a friend of Kasper McGrory ("Mr. McGrory"), and his wife Ruby Leigh Anglin McGrory ("Ms. McGrory") (collectively referred to as the "McGrorys"). The Plaintiff, in the early 1970's, assisted the McGrorys in drafting their wills leaving each of their assets to the surviving spouse. The McGrorys' relationship became sour and in the fall of 1990, Ms. McGrory wrote a holographic will, which failed to mention Mr. McGrory. The will was placed in her safe, which contained other valuables. Ms. McGrory's brother, Roma Anglin ("Mr. Anglin"), with the Plaintiff's assistance, procured a durable power of attorney from Ms. McGrory. Pursuant to his power of attorney, a few days before Ms. McGrory's death, Mr. Anglin inventoried the contents of the safe and placed the contents in a safe deposit box. Copies of the holographic will were sent to Mr. McCrory and Mr. White. Ms. McGrory died on December 22, 1990, and after her death on February 28, 1991, Mr. McGrory retained the Plaintiff "to force the probate of Leigh McGrory's estate in Shelby County, Tennessee to ascertain assets, 1/3 of which belong to the husband, in order to recover same." After Mr. McGrory's death, Mr. Anglin took the holographic will and the contents of the safe deposit box to Texas, where he lived. Mr. McGrory died on July 22, 1992, and as of then, none of Ms. McGrory's assets had been distributed. • Mr. McGrory left a will bequeathing virtually his entire estate to the Catholic Diocese of Memphis. The executor of Mr. McGrory's estate hired an attorney, James Bland ("Mr. Bland"), to represent the estate. Mr. Bland wrote the Plaintiff a letter on October 27, 1992, relieving him of his "representation of [Mr. McGrory's] interest in [Ms. McGrory's] estate". Mr. Bland offered to pay the Plaintiff a reasonable fee for the work that he did. The Plaintiff refused to accept this proposal citing the February 28, 1991 contingency fee agreement. The Plaintiff filed a claim against Mr. McGrory's estate for $108,291.00, representing "one-third of $349,000, the amount of Leigh's estate to which Kasper was entitled by law." The probate court held the fee the Plaintiff sought was excessive and unreasonable pursuant to DR 2-106, but found that the Plaintiff could recover under a theory of quantum meruit. The Plaintiff was awarded $12,500 or 114 hours at $150 per hour.
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