Bailey v. BaileyAnnotate this Case
This appeal arose from a dispute regarding the requirements for determining whether a claimed amount of attorney fees was reasonable. After extended litigation to settle his parents’ estate, Kim Bailey, the estate’s personal representative, asked the magistrate court for an award of attorney fees from estate funds. The magistrate court found that Bailey was entitled to reasonable fees to be determined under I.R.C.P. 54(e)(3) and ordered Bailey to provide an accounting of his attorney fees, including the time his attorney spent providing legal services. Bailey’s attorney notified the court that he was unable to comply with the order, explaining that he did not keep time records because the attorney-client contract expressly stated that the fee would not be based upon an hourly rate, but upon the attorney’s opinion of the reasonable worth of his services. The beneficiaries of the estate challenged the sufficiency of the accounting. The magistrate court denied Bailey’s request for fees and concluded that without time records it could not determine a reasonable fee amount in compliance with I.R.C.P. 54(e)(3)(A). The district court upheld the denial of fees, and Bailey timely appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court agreed with the district court and affirmed.