Wiener Weiss & Madison v. Fox, No. 19-30688 (5th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the law firms in an action brought by the firms against a former client, seeking to enforce the terms of the parties' contingency fee agreement.
After determining that it had jurisdiction over the appeal, the court held that the parties' contingency fee agreement violates Louisiana Rule of Professional Conduct 1.8(a). The court held that a contingency fee arrangement resulting in an attorney owning part of the client's business is a business transaction under Rule 1.8(a). The court explained that, because the terms of the contingency fee agreement in this case give the firms an ownership interest in the client's holding company, Rule 1.8(a) applies, and the firms were required to advise the client to seek the advice of independent counsel. Because the firms failed to do so, the contingency fee award is void. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings.