the courts of this state ( Francis v. Knerr, 149 Minn. 122, 182 N.W. 988), and hence the prevailing practice is to associate a resident attorney of record. When this is done, as it was here, there is no reason for denying a lien for the compensation the client should pay.'
The Minnesota statute dealing with Attorneys' Liens (R.L. § . 2288; 1917 c. 98; 1939 c. 394; Minn. S.A. section 481.13) is substantially similar to N.J.S.A. 2A:13-5.
The Supreme Court of Wisconsin, in the case of Liberty v. Liberty, 226 Wis. 136, 276 N.W. 121 (1937) also had before it for decision the right of a non-resident attorney to a lien. In passing on this question, the court said:
'We see no objection to a regularly licensed attorney of a sister state, who has been duly authorized by the court in which the action is pending, taking part in the trial of a case and having the benefit of a charging lien for his services as a regularly admitted resident attorney would have, there being nothing in the law limiting the lien to the attorney of record. * * *'
In a proper case an attorney may enforce his lien in a court other than that before which his services were rendered. Peresipka v. Elgin, etc., 7 Cir., 231 F.2d 268, 59 A.L.R.2d 554. See also in same volume of A.L.R. the annotation, p. 564, dealing with conflict of laws as to attorneys' liens.
In considering the legislative intent behind the New Jersey Attorneys' Lien Act, it is obvious that it was designed to protect an attorney from being deprived of his fee in a case where, after the commencement of the litigation, he appeared in the cause for the party instituting the action.
The law is clear that a defendant who settles a cause of action without the knowledge or consent of the plaintiff's attorney, exposes himself to liability. Ferraro v. City Hall Garage, 94 N.J.L. 209, 109 A. 358 (E. & A.1920); Lehigh, etc. v. Finnerty, 61 F.2d 289 (3 Cir.1932); James v. Harris, 42 N.J.Super. 468, 127 A.2d 215 (1956); Levy v. Public Service Railway, 91 N.J.L. 183, 103 A. 171 (E. & A.1918); Fuessel v. Cadillac Bar Corp., 63 N.J.Super. 430, 164 A.2d 821 (App.Div.1960).
In the absence of any New Jersey authority holding to the contrary, this court is of the opinion that under the facts of this case, Freehill is entitled to assert a lien under N.J.S.A. 2A:13-5 for legal services rendered in the action commenced in this District. In the language of the statute, he did, after the filing of the complaint in this cause, appear therein for the party instituting the action. Freehill's admission, pro hac vice, under the general rule of this court, specifically permitted him to appear and participate in the cause, and the proof is that he did so. Under the circumstances, this court is of the opinion that Freehill, at least so far as his right to compensation is concerned, acquired a status equal to that of a local lawyer. Many cases in this court originate with out-of-state lawyers. These lawyers retain local counsel because of the rule requirements that only attorneys of this court may receive payment on judgments, file papers, enter appearances for parties, or sign stipulations. But the actual conduct of the litigation, in most instances, is carried on by the attorney from the foreign jurisdiction after he has been admitted, pro hac vice, to appear and participate in the cause. It would be inequitable in such a situation to accord the right of lien to local counsel and deny it to his associate from another state. Neither the statute, nor the Clock decision, compels such a result.
It follows that Universal's alternative motions for judgment on the pleadings or for a summary judgment must be denied insofar as they relate to the New Jersey litigation. With respect to the legal services rendered by Freehill in the Washington litigation in New York and in Pennsylvania, the claim to a lien under the New Jersey statute for services rendered in that lawsuit must be denied for the reason that none of the litigation involving Washington took place in this District. To the extent, therefore, that it is attempted to assert a lien for such services, Freehill's application must be denied and Universal's motion for summary judgment on this aspect of the case will be granted.
On the practice to be followed counsel are referred to Artale v. Columbia, etc., 109 N.J.L. 463, 162 A. 585 (E. & A.1932) and H. & H. Ranch Homes, Inc. v. Smith, 54 N.J.Super. 347, 148 A.2d 837 (App.Div.1959).
An order may be submitted in conformity with the views herein expressed.
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