$1.34 Million Fee Award Went POOF!
Miske v. Bisno, Case Nos. A127596 et al. (1st Dist., Div. 4 Apr. 12, 2012) (partially published, including fee discussion) is an interesting case where the defrauded limited partner was treated as an innocent third party which produced a $1.4 million fraud compensatory verdict result. The defrauded limited partner assigned the fraud claim to another, which led the trial court to award attorney’s fees of another $1.34 million to the assignee based on a broad fee clause encompassing the dispute contained in the limited partnership agreement.
However, the fee award was reversed on appeal (or went POOF!). The rub was that assignor/defrauded partner only assigned the fraud claim, not the limited partnership agreement rights containing the fees clause. Assignee was never made a substitute limited partner from the assignment process. This result should definitely be a good lesson for you transactional attorney folks out there for purposes of structuring assignments which also allow the assignee the benefits of a potential fee recovery.
BLOG UNDERVIEW--Co-contributors Marc/Mike’s former colleagues at Jackson DeMarco Tidus & Peckenpaugh, Larry Resnick and Greg Regier, tried the case for losing party Mr. Coxeter, and did beat back a much higher damages request at the trial level. On appeal, they teamed up with Jerome Falk and his appellate team at Howard Rice (now merged with Arnold & Porter) to overturn the fee award.