The Second District holds that a provision in a contingency fee agreement that mandated the case proceed to settlement or trial was void as against public policy.
Don Lemmer represented Jeffrey Charney on an hourly basis in a lawsuit against Charney’s former employer Teleflora LLC. After several months, the parties entered into a new contingency fee agreement at Charney’s request after Charney promised to take the case to trial or settlement to ensure that Lemmer was paid. However, Charney believed Teleflora’s owner would appeal any judgment and extend the litigation to exhaust Charney’s resources, and he did not intend to proceed absent a settlement. Charney instructed Lemmer to accept a walk away settlement less than one month before trial.