reason, see, infra), Sado wrote "Stuart Jackson lawyer's fee," and Jackson gave Sado a writing acknowledging that the $ 5,000 was "toward any legal fees to which we may otherwise be entitled." Jackson testified that the fee was a nonrefundable retainer that he required from Sado in order to prove that Sado was serious about and committed to his case. Jackson testified that he initially thought his work in this case would require about twenty-five hours of his time, but that it actually involved many times more because of the difficulties he experienced with Sado and his mother. Both Sados took an active role in pressing on him what the pleadings should include and what legal arguments should be proffered, as indicated by their numerous and lengthy letters to Jackson.
Sado endeavors to create an "odor" over the fact that notwithstanding his own agreement to it, the $ 5,000 payment to Jackson had an unusual wrinkle. It appears that when Sado needed a lawyer here, it was one Jerome Puchkoff who got Jackson for him. While Sado needed a lawyer, Puchkoff, a sometime business venturer with both Sado and Jackson, needed a small loan. Accordingly, Sado, with Jackson's approval, made the Jackson "retainer check" payable to "cash," then went with Puchkoff, cashed the check and gave Puchkoff the $ 5,000. Jackson immediately credited Sado, in writing, with the payment to him (Jackson) of the $ 5,000 retainer, Puchkoff thus becoming in effect a borrower of $ 5,000 from Jackson.
Any insinuations of impropriety made by Sado with respect to this transaction lack merit.
Sado next filed a complaint against Jackson with the Disciplinary Committee of the Appellate Division, First Department. When that committee concluded, after a "careful investigation of the allegations," that "there [was] no basis for taking further action," Sado sent the Committee a lengthy letter, making gratuitous actionable defamatory statements against Jackson.
In sum, on this record I find that Sado's discharge of Jackson was without cause, and that Jackson's withdrawal was in good faith and for cause. Jackson's legal representation achieved Sado's intervention in this case, and I conclude that Sado's charges against Jackson are without basis.
I also conclude that the $ 5,000 was a non-refundable retainer that Sado paid to Jackson, and that Sado is not entitled to its return. In addition, since Sado's discharge of Jackson was, on this record, without cause, and Jackson's withdrawal was for cause, and since on this record Jackson has shown that he expended far more than the anticipated time on Sado's case, Jackson is granted a lien in quantum meruit against any proceeds flowing to Sado, should this occur, from this suit hereafter.
Campagnola v. Mulholland, Minion & Roe, 76 N.Y.2d 38, 556 N.Y.S.2d 239, 242, 555 N.E.2d 611 (N.Y. 1990); Fields v. Leeponis, 95 A.D.2d 822, 463 N.Y.S.2d 864, 866 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dep't 1983).
The foregoing constitute the Court's findings of facts and conclusions of law and are so ordered. The parties are to appear before me in Courtroom 128 on April 2, 1993 at 10:30 a.m. to resolve any open discovery questions and to set a date for trial.
Dated: March 19, 1993
New York, New York
United States District Judge