2 Mo.App. 486 (Mo.App. 1876), Darby v. Knapp

Citation:2 Mo.App. 486
Opinion Judge:LEWIS, J.
Party Name:JOHN F. DARBY, Plaintiff in Error, v. JOHN KNAPP, Executor of DELPHY CARLIN, deceased, Defendant in Error.
Attorney:John F. Darby, plaintiff in error, pro se. Cline, Jamison & Day, for defendant in error.
Judge Panel:Judge GANTT not sitting, and Judge BAKEWELL concurring,
Case Date:June 19, 1876
Court:Court of Appeals of Missouri
 
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Page 486

2 Mo.App. 486 (Mo.App. 1876)

JOHN F. DARBY, Plaintiff in Error,

v.

JOHN KNAPP, Executor of DELPHY CARLIN, deceased, Defendant in Error.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, St. Louis.

June 19, 1876

1. In an action by an attorney for services in defending a husband in a divorce and alimony suit, it is error to reject testimony offered by plaintiff to show the property and financial condition of his client. Such rejection is not justified by the fact that there was testimony tending to prove a special contract between the attorney and client.

2. Where an attorney is employed generally to guard his client's interests in a particular matter, and bestows labor in investigations which lead to the conclusion that his client has no real interest in the matter, he is entitled, nevertheless, to compensation for his services.

3. If the plaintiff prove the services on account of which he sues, but introduces no proof of their value, the jury may, from their own knowledge of the business and affairs of society, fix a reasonable value, and find a verdict in his favor accordingly.

ERROR to St. Louis Circuit Court.

Reversed and remanded.

John F. Darby, plaintiff in error, pro se.

Cline, Jamison & Day, for defendant in error.

OPINION

LEWIS, J.

Plaintiff presented for allowance, in the Probate Court, his account against the estate of defendant's testator for professional services as attorney at law, and for moneys paid on the testator's account during his life-time. The Probate Court refused an allowance, whereupon the plaintiff appealed to the Circuit Court, where the cause was tried before a jury. Verdict and judgment were rendered in favor of the defendant.

The charges in the account amounted to $1,550 for professional services, and $1,727 for moneys paid--making in all $3,277. The credits, all being cash payments, amounted to $2,427, leaving a balance claimed of $850. The three following items, among those of services rendered, constitute chiefly the basis of the present controversy:

" To drawing bill for divorce against Mary Carlin, and prosecuting said suit to final judgment, and obtaining decree of divorce, throughout, etc., $500.

Drawing copy of bill of Mary Carlin against you and sending to you, and drawing your answer to the same, and defending said suit successfully for D. Carlin, and, as his counsel...

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