Sanner v. Sanner

Decision Date08 March 1932
Docket Number21858
Citation46 S.W.2d 936
PartiesSANNER v. SANNER et al.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Appeal from St. Louis Circuit Court; M. Hartmann, Judge.

“ Not to be officially published.”

Suit by Francis W. Sanner against Mary Sanner, in which Frederick A. Wendt filed a motion to decree an attorney’s lien on a judgment for alimony and to declare petitioner equitable assignee of judgment to extent of lien. From an order overruling motion, petitioner appeals.


Allen Moser & Marsalek, of St. Louis, for appellant.

Max Sigoloff, of St. Louis, for respondent Francis W. Sanner.

George E. Mix, of St. Louis, for respondent Mary Sanner.



This is an appeal from an order of the circuit court overruling a motion to decree an attorney’s lien on a judgment for alimony and to declare the petitioner an equitable assignee of said judgment to the extent of his lien, and for execution therefor.

The respondents, Francis W. Sanner and Mary Sanner, were husband and wife, and in 1920 the husband filed suit for divorce; the wife filed a cross-bill. The trial of the case resulted in a decree of divorce for the wife together with $45 per month alimony, of which $25 per month was for the support, education, and maintenance of Mary H. Sanner, a minor child of the parties.

It appears that the husband after a time failed to make the alimony payments and on November 3, 1930, Mrs. Sanner entered into a contract with the petitioner, Frederick A. Wendt, an attorney, by which she agreed to pay him one-third of the amount collected by him of the unpaid alimony. Wendt had not been Mrs. Sanner’s attorney in obtaining her a divorce.

After being employed Wendt obtained a stipulation from the husband that he had made no payment of alimony since June 16, 1922, and obtained payment of $400 of the unpaid alimony, of which amount Wendt received his stipulated fee of one-third. Wendt also caused an execution and a garnishment to be issued for the unpaid balance of the judgment returnable to the December term, 1930, of the circuit court of the city of St. Louis. On December 17, 1930, Mrs. Sanner notified Wendt that she did not wish to continue the prosecution of the collection of her judgment and discharged him as her attorney in the matter.

In this situation Wendt, in the original suit for divorce between the husband and wife, filed his motion seeking to have the court declare an attorney’s lien on the said judgment in his favor and to declare him an equitable assignee of the judgment to the extent of his lien, and for execution thereon. The motion recites the various matters which we have hereinabove set out, and alleges further that by reason of Mrs. Sanner’s action in discharging him in alleged violation of his contract of employment as attorney, she has prevented him from a full performance of his contract although he was at all times ready, able, and willing to complete the terms thereof. The motion further recites that a notice of his contract of employment was served upon Francis W. Sanner, the judgment debtor, and alleges that "there exists a fraudulent and collusive arrangement between plaintiff and defendant as a part of a fraudulent scheme to defeat movant of his attorney’s lien." It is further alleged that the client’s judgment, together with interest thereon, amounts to $3,567.93, and that according to his contract one-third thereof, namely, $1,189.31, is due him as his attorney’s fee.

Upon a hearing of the motion a written stipulation signed by Sanner and by his wife and by Wendt was introduced to the effect that the judgment upon which petitioner was seeking to impress his attorney’s lien arose out of a divorce action in which the wife was awarded a decree of divorce and alimony for her maintenance and support, and for...

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