Palmer v. Brown., No. 82.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Maryland
Writing for the CourtMELVIN, Judge.
Citation40 A.2d 514
PartiesPALMER v. BROWN.
Docket NumberNo. 82.
Decision Date11 January 1945

40 A.2d 514

PALMER
v.
BROWN.

No. 82.

Court of Appeals of Maryland.

Jan. 11, 1945.


Appeal from Circuit Court, Carroll County; James E. Boylan, Jr., Judge.

Action by A. Freeborn Brown against M. Herbert Palmer to recover for legal services rendered to defendant. From a judgment for plaintiff, defendant appeals.

Affirmed.

J. Wilmer Cronin, of Aberdeen (D. Eugene Walsh, of Westminster, on the brief), for appellant.

Eldridge Hood Young, of Baltimore, and C. Gilbert Cooley, of Bel Air (John Wood, of Westminster, on the brief), for appellee.

Before MARBURY, C. J., and DELAPLAINE, COLLINS, GRASON, MELVIN, and HENDERSON, JJ.

40 A.2d 515

MELVIN, Judge.

The appellee, a member of the Maryland Bar of long standing, was employed by the appellant to render certain professional services in seeking to recover damages, ‘or compensation of any kind or character,’ in connection with appellant's farm in Harford County, Maryland, which was subsequently acquired as a part of the Aberdeen Proving Ground area, a U. S. Government project. The basis of this employment was a written contract between the parties dated December 4, 1939, which the appellant cancelled by his letter to the appellee under date of August 18, 1941. The appellant later received an award for this property of $18,000 as a direct result of condemnation proceedings, and also as an indirect result, the appellee contends, of the preliminary services rendered by him under the contract aforesaid. The appellant refused to recognize any obligation to the appellee, paid him nothing, and was thereupon sued by the appellee for the value, on a quantum meruit basis, of services rendered to the date of the cancellation. The case was submitted to a jury and from the judgment on the verdict in favor of the appellee for $1200 the present appeal was taken.

The declaration, which was filed in the circuit court for Harford County on April 24, 1942, originally contained three counts, the first two being common counts-(1) for work and labor, and (2) for money had and received-and the third being based on the written contract. Under date of May 11, 1942, the defendant filed the general issue plea to the first and second counts and demurred to the third. According to the docket entries, issue was joined on the plea on May 25, 1942, and on the following December 14th the demurrer was sustained, with leave to amend within five days. The plaintiff (appellee) did not amend and so the case remained at issue as to the first two counts. On November 8, 1943, after the case had been removed to Carroll County for trial, the defendant (appellant) filed a demand for a bill of particulars, without, so far as the record shows, withdrawing his plea, or attempting to obtain leave of court to do so, and eleven days later the plaintiff complied with this demand. It was not until June 13, 1944, that the next docket entry appears. The defendant then filed general issue pleas to the first and second counts of the narr, and on the next day the plaintiff entered a motion ne recipiatur to the pleas, which was granted by the court. To the ruling on this motion the defendant excepted, being exception number one on this appeal. No authorities are cited in support of this point, and, we take it, none can be found, for it is an elementary rule of pleading that after pleas have been filed and issue joined a demand for a bill of particulars comes too late. Poe's Pleading and Practice, 5th Ed. Vol. 2 Sec. 120; Southern Bldg. Ass'n v. Price, 88 Md. 155, 41 A. 53, 42 L.R.A. 206; White Automobile Co. v. Dorsey, 119 Md. 251, 86 A. 617. The court was, therefore, correct in refusing to receive defendant's pleas filed after issue had been joined, and this ruling had the legal effect of striking out, also, both the demand for particulars and the bill itself, as petitioned by the plaintiff when he filed his motion ne recipiatur. When the case proceeded to trial the right of recovery was based on the common counts only-the special count reciting the written contract having been eliminated at the instance of the defendant-so that the bill of particulars which elaborated on this contract was obviously out of order and the plaintiff, then suing for damages on a quantum meruit basis, could not be charged with adherence to particulars furnished in connection with a discarded theory. As expressed in Poe's Practice, supra, sec. 118:

‘If improperly called for and improvidently furnished they (bills of particulars) have no effect, and the right of the parties furnishing them to recover without reference to them is well established.’

The sole issue on this appeal is, therefore, the one raised by the common counts, and, simply stated, is this:

Is the appellee entitled to recover in general assumpsit for services actually rendered in part performance of a special contract which was cancelled by the appellant?

The plain...

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15 practice notes
  • Somuah v. Flachs, No. 9
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 18 Diciembre 1998
    ...is freely revocable by the client. See Skeens v. Miller, 331 Md. 331, 335, 628 A.2d 185, 187 (1993); Palmer v. Brown, 184 Md. 309, 316, 40 A.2d 514, 517 (1945); Boyd v. Johnson, 145 Md. 385, 389, 125 A. 697, 698-99 (1924). The client's right to terminate the attorney-client relationship is ......
  • Ronald M. Sharrow, Chartered v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 111
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 1 Septiembre 1985
    ...intervention, knowledge, or consent. Maddox v. District Supply, Inc., 222 Md. 31, 158 A.2d 650 (1960); Palmer v. Brown, 184 Md. 309, 40 A.2d 514 (1945); Boyd v. Johnson, 145 Md. 385, 125 A. 697 (1924). It is also true that an insurer has a right and duty to enter into good faith negotiation......
  • Blondell v. Littlepage, No. 16, Sept. Term, 2008.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 30 Marzo 2009
    ...may discharge an attorney at any time or settle a claim without the attorney's knowledge or consent. Palmer v. Brown, 184 Md. 309, 316, 40 A.2d 514 (1945). If discharged without cause, however, the attorney may have a quantum meruit claim. Scamardella v. Illiano, 126 Md.App. 76, 95-96, 727 ......
  • Skeens v. Miller, No. 61
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 1 Septiembre 1992
    ...settled that the authority of an attorney to act for a client is revocable at the will of the client. Palmer v. Brown, 184 Md. 309, 316, 40 A.2d 514, 517 (1945); Boyd v. Johnson, 145 Md. 385, 389, 125 A. 697, 698-99 (1924); Western Union Tel. Co. v. Semmes, 73 Md. 9, 18, 20 A. 127, 128 (189......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • Somuah v. Flachs, No. 9
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 18 Diciembre 1998
    ...is freely revocable by the client. See Skeens v. Miller, 331 Md. 331, 335, 628 A.2d 185, 187 (1993); Palmer v. Brown, 184 Md. 309, 316, 40 A.2d 514, 517 (1945); Boyd v. Johnson, 145 Md. 385, 389, 125 A. 697, 698-99 (1924). The client's right to terminate the attorney-client relationship is ......
  • Ronald M. Sharrow, Chartered v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 111
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 1 Septiembre 1985
    ...intervention, knowledge, or consent. Maddox v. District Supply, Inc., 222 Md. 31, 158 A.2d 650 (1960); Palmer v. Brown, 184 Md. 309, 40 A.2d 514 (1945); Boyd v. Johnson, 145 Md. 385, 125 A. 697 (1924). It is also true that an insurer has a right and duty to enter into good faith negotiation......
  • Blondell v. Littlepage, No. 16, Sept. Term, 2008.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • 30 Marzo 2009
    ...may discharge an attorney at any time or settle a claim without the attorney's knowledge or consent. Palmer v. Brown, 184 Md. 309, 316, 40 A.2d 514 (1945). If discharged without cause, however, the attorney may have a quantum meruit claim. Scamardella v. Illiano, 126 Md.App. 76, 95-96, 727 ......
  • Skeens v. Miller, No. 61
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 1 Septiembre 1992
    ...settled that the authority of an attorney to act for a client is revocable at the will of the client. Palmer v. Brown, 184 Md. 309, 316, 40 A.2d 514, 517 (1945); Boyd v. Johnson, 145 Md. 385, 389, 125 A. 697, 698-99 (1924); Western Union Tel. Co. v. Semmes, 73 Md. 9, 18, 20 A. 127, 128 (189......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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