Melissa J.C. Sterry v. Craig H. Nelson

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Disposition: Award to Respondent

Issued by: Fee Arbitration Commission

Docket #: FAC# 19-432

Dated: September 4, 2020

Bar Number: 000766

A hearing in the above matter was held on August 6, 2020, before a duly authorized Fee Arbitration Panel of the Fee Arbitration Commission of the Board of Overseers of the Bar. This Panel was designated to hear the controversy existing between the above-named parties as set forth in the Petitioner’s Petition. The members of this Panel were Chair Carrie Folsom, Esq.; Zachary I. Greenfield, Esq.; and public member Paul F. Bolin. The Hearing occurred telephonically. The Petitioner was present and testified. The Respondent appeared and testified. Based upon the evidence introduced, the Panel finds for the Respondent as follows:

Measuring the findings with the factors set forth in Rules 1.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Panel finds that there was a written fee agreement between Petitioner and Respondent’s firm, Doyle & Nelson, dated November 10, 2016, and that the legal fees at issue were performed by an attorney employed at that time by Doyle & Nelson. The agreement stated that the fees to be paid to Doyle & Nelson when the matter concluded. Petitioner changed to representation outside of the firm before the matter concluded. There was no additional agreement with Doyle & Nelson, and the matter for which the firm had been involved ultimately concluded, the fees became immediately due, and have not been paid. Because there was further agreement between the firm and Petitioner the entire outstanding amount, $37,266.12, is due from Petitioner to Respondent.

In order to preserve the confidentiality of the written materials and the testimony submitted at the hearing, the findings of fact and conclusions are not set forth in the Award and Determination. This Award and Determination is accompanied, however, by a separate supplemental document which sets forth the findings of facts and conclusions of the Panel. By ruling of the Chair, the attached supplemental document shall not be considered part of the award, which is a public document. In accordance with Maine Bar Rule 7(h), the supplemental document shall be confidential and shall not be open to the public or disclosed to any person except as otherwise set forth in Maine Bar Rule 7(h).

The Award and Determination is in full settlement of all claims submitted to the Arbitration Panel.

The undersigned have subscribed to this award on September 4, 2020.

Carrie Folsom, Esq.
Chair, Panel 2
Fee Arbitration Commission