California Court of Appeals, Second District, Sixth Division
Superior Court County No. 56-2016-00485907-CU-NP-VTA of
Ventura Kent M. Kellegrew, Judge
May for Defendant and Appellant.
Mancini & Associates and Tara J. Licata for Plaintiff and
GILBERT, P. J.
course, on occasion, a client may not fully appreciate the
excellent result achieved by her or his attorney. Such an
occasion provides the background from which this case arises.
attorney successfully prosecutes an action resulting in a
substantial jury verdict in favor of his client. The retainer
agreement between the attorney and his client provides that
the attorney receive a percentage of the recovery and costs
should his client prevail.
the client, without the attorney's knowledge or consent,
releases the defendant from the pending judgment, including
attorney fees and costs.
this release preclude the attorney from pursuing his costs
and fees from the defendant? Of course not.
Schwetz appeals a judgment entered in favor of the law firm
Mancini & Associates (Mancini). We affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
appeal concerns a written settlement and release from a 2008
judgment awarded Gina Rodriguez, plaintiff in the underlying
lawsuit, Rodriguez v. Schwetz (Super. Ct. Ventura
County, 2008, No. SC046381). But for $40 collected from
defendant Schwetz in a debtor's exam, the judgment proved
to be uncollectable. Seven years following trial and her
favorable judgment, Rodriguez regretted the lawsuit and
sought “to resolve all the issues” with Schwetz.
The settlement and release broadly releases the attorney fees
and costs due Mancini pursuant to the firm's retainer
agreement with Rodriguez.
brought this action against Schwetz seeking attorney fees and
costs, plus interest, awarded in the underlying litigation
and incorporated into the 2008 judgment. Following a court
trial, Mancini obtained $409, 351 damages on tort theories of
interference with contract and economic advantage. Schwetz
appeals this award.
Lawsuit and Aftermath
March 30, 2005, Rodriguez and Mancini agreed in writing that
Mancini would represent Rodriguez in an employment lawsuit
against her former employer NADT, LLC (NADT), and its
principal, Schwetz. The retainer agreement provided that
Mancini's attorney fees would be 50 percent of any
recovery obtained plus all attorney fees awarded by the trial
court. In addition, the agreement provided that court ...