Cathcart v. Robison, Lyle, Belaustegui, & Robb, No. 19281

Docket NºNo. 19281
Citation795 P.2d 986, 106 Nev. 477
Case DateAugust 21, 1990
CourtSupreme Court of Nevada

Page 986

795 P.2d 986
106 Nev. 477
Patricia Lorraine CATHCART, Appellant,
v.
ROBISON, LYLE, BELAUSTEGUI, & ROBB, a Professional
Corporation; Kent R. Robison and Robert E. Lyle,
Respondents.
No. 19281.
Supreme Court of Nevada.
Aug. 21, 1990.

[106 Nev. 478] Hamilton & Lynch, Reno, for appellant.

Vargas & Bartlett and Nicholas Frey, Reno, for respondents.

OPINION

PER CURIAM:

The Facts

Dr. Robert Cathcart filed for divorce from his wife, appellant Patricia Cathcart, in August, 1979. During approximately the next two years, Patricia had a number of attorneys represent her in the divorce proceedings. Finally, she retained Kent R. Robison, Esq. (Robison) upon the recommendation of a friend who was an administrative law judge.

Robison was retained by Patricia in May of 1981. He took the case and was almost immediately successful in motivating Dr. Cathcart, who had a history of ignoring court orders to support his wife and children, to comply by having a bench warrant issued for the doctor's arrest.

The Cathcart divorce was finally scheduled for trial in November, 1981. However, because of a scheduling conflict, Robison was unable to represent Patricia at trial. With his client's approval, Robison had his partner, Robert E. Lyle, Esq. (Lyle), an experienced divorce litigator, try the case. Both Robison and Patricia briefed Lyle and otherwise assisted him in preparing the case for trial.

The trial lasted approximately a day and one-half. Patricia was awarded a one-half interest in the house, one-half of the monthly royalty income for the duration of a patent owned by Dr. Cathcart on a prosthetic hip device, and approximately one-half of the personal marital property.

[106 Nev. 479] The trial court's judgment was not appealed. However, Lyle did expend considerable time in bringing the matter to a conclusion following entry of judgment. Ultimately, Patricia chose to retain new counsel to finalize post-divorce residual concerns.

This appeal arises from a dispute between Patricia and Robison and Lyle concerning the value of their legal representation. Initially, Robison and Lyle filed suit and prayed for approximately $35,000, but this complaint was dismissed without prejudice and the matter was submitted to the Bar Association Fee Dispute Committee. Ultimately, Robison and Lyle refiled their complaint and simply prayed for "reasonable attorney's fees." Patricia counterclaimed

Page 987

against Robison and Lyle, alleging legal malpractice.

After extensive discovery by both parties, the claims and counterclaims went to trial before a jury. Following a five week trial, the jury rejected Patricia's counterclaim against Robison and Lyle and returned a verdict of $90,000 as reasonable attorneys' fees for Robison and Lyle. 1

Discussion

On appeal, Patricia raises numerous issues, one of which has merit. She argues that the jury's award of $90,000 as reasonable attorney's fees is manifestly unjust and unsupported by the evidence. We agree.

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4 practice notes
  • Stockmeier v. Panel, No. 50750.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • 9 Septiembre 2009
    ...well settled in Nevada that, “ ‘to justify a money judgment ... the fact of damages[ ] must be proved.’ “ Cathcart v. Robison, Lyle. Etc., 106 Nev. 477, 480, 795 P.2d 986, 987 (1990) (quoting Alper v. Stillings, 80 Nev. 84, 86–87, 389 P.2d 239, 240 (1964)); see alsoNRS 34.270 (permitting a ......
  • Branch Banking v. Frank, 2:11-CV-1366 JCM (CWH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • 26 Septiembre 2013
    ...evidence . . . as the law does not permit arriving at such amount by conjecture." Cathcart v. Robison, Lyle, Belaustegui, & Robb, 795 P.2d 986, 987 (Nev. 1990). Far from simply "tossing out a number," Mr. Hicks identified a specific amount that plaintiff paid the FDIC for the loan and also ......
  • Branch Banking & Trust Co. v. Frank, 2:11-CV-1366 JCM (CWH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • 17 Diciembre 2013
    ...plaintiff provide "substantial evidence" to support a calculation of damages. See, e.g., Cathcart v. Robison, Lyle, Belaustegui, & Robb, 795 P.2d 986, 987 (Nev. 1990). Nevada law defines "substantial evidence" as "evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclus......
  • Aetna Cas. and Sur. Co. v. Aztec Plumbing Corp., No. 19235
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • 21 Agosto 1990
    ...449, 452 (D.Md.1962). Here, Aetna's cause of action was not split because it did not exist until Aetna paid the judgment to Forest [106 Nev. 477] Lane. Thus, the district court erred in finding that Aetna split its cause of Next, Aetna insists that the subcontractors are not co-insured part......
4 cases
  • Stockmeier v. Panel, No. 50750.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • 9 Septiembre 2009
    ...well settled in Nevada that, “ ‘to justify a money judgment ... the fact of damages[ ] must be proved.’ “ Cathcart v. Robison, Lyle. Etc., 106 Nev. 477, 480, 795 P.2d 986, 987 (1990) (quoting Alper v. Stillings, 80 Nev. 84, 86–87, 389 P.2d 239, 240 (1964)); see alsoNRS 34.270 (permitting a ......
  • Branch Banking v. Frank, 2:11-CV-1366 JCM (CWH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • 26 Septiembre 2013
    ...evidence . . . as the law does not permit arriving at such amount by conjecture." Cathcart v. Robison, Lyle, Belaustegui, & Robb, 795 P.2d 986, 987 (Nev. 1990). Far from simply "tossing out a number," Mr. Hicks identified a specific amount that plaintiff paid the FDIC for the loan and also ......
  • Branch Banking & Trust Co. v. Frank, 2:11-CV-1366 JCM (CWH)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. District of Nevada
    • 17 Diciembre 2013
    ...plaintiff provide "substantial evidence" to support a calculation of damages. See, e.g., Cathcart v. Robison, Lyle, Belaustegui, & Robb, 795 P.2d 986, 987 (Nev. 1990). Nevada law defines "substantial evidence" as "evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclus......
  • Aetna Cas. and Sur. Co. v. Aztec Plumbing Corp., No. 19235
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • 21 Agosto 1990
    ...449, 452 (D.Md.1962). Here, Aetna's cause of action was not split because it did not exist until Aetna paid the judgment to Forest [106 Nev. 477] Lane. Thus, the district court erred in finding that Aetna split its cause of Next, Aetna insists that the subcontractors are not co-insured part......

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