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After he fell through a building roof while installing a fan on a property owned by Rommi Realty, LLC, Andrzej B. filed a personal-injury lawsuit in the Queens County Supreme Court.

While the case was initially commenced in 2017 by the “P” firm, some two years later, Andrzej retained the “B” firm. When the case was settled, the two sets of attorneys battled over how they would split the legal fees. After a Queens County Supreme Court justice awarded 60% of the money to “P,” and 40% to "B," both counsel appealed to the Appellate Division, Second Department.

Apparently, the “P” firm “handled the case on behalf of [Andrzej] for more than two years and performed work that included, inter alia, filing and serving the summons and complaint, conducting depositions, attending court conferences, and engaging in motion practice,” while the “B” firm handled such things as “filing supplemental documents in support of a motion by the plaintiff for summary judgment, orally arguing the motion, attending multiple settlement conferences, and securing a favorable settlement ….”

Deferring to the trial court, given that it was in the “best position” to assess “`such factors as the time and labor required, the difficulty of the issues involved, the skill required to handle the matter, and the effectiveness of the legal work performed,’” and after its independent review of the record, the AD2 thought the 60/40 split was appropriate and affirmed that outcome.

Was that a split decision?

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B. v Rommi Realty, LLC