Vaughan v. Hill

Decision Date10 July 1922
Docket Number128
Citation242 S.W. 826,154 Ark. 528
PartiesVAUGHAN v. HILL
CourtArkansas Supreme Court

Appeal from Prairie Circuit Court, Northern District; George W Clark, Judge; reversed.

STATEMENT OF FACTS.

Emmet Vaughan brought this suit in equity against Lillie Mae Webber and the Farmers & Merchants' Bank at Des Arc to foreclose an attorney's lien.

It appears from the record that the Modern Woodmen of America issued a beneficiary certificate on the life of George Webber in the sum of $ 2,000 in which Mark Webber, his father, was named as the beneficiary. Subsequently George Webber married and undertook to transfer the policy to his wife. George Webber died, and the insurance association paid the amount of the policy to Mark Webber. Lillie Mae Webber employed Emmet Vaughan to bring suit against Mark Webber for $ 2,000, the amount of the policy.

The case was tried in the circuit court and Vaughan secured a verdict for $ 2,000 in favor of the widow. Subsequently Mark Webber satisfied the judgment against him in the favor of the widow by the payment thereof. The payment was made by a check which was deposited in the Farmers & Merchants' Bank at Des Arc, Ark.

Vaughan brought this suit in equity against Lillie Mae Webber to recover his fee and to have the same declared a lien upon the fund recovered. An equitable garnishment was issued and served upon the Farmers & Merchants' Bank at Des Arc Ark.

Upon motion of Lillie Mae Webber the case was transferred to the circuit court. Vaughan objected to the transfer of the case and duly saved his exceptions to the ruling of the chancery court in transferring it to the circuit court.

The case was tried before a jury in the circuit court and a verdict was returned in favor of Vaughan for $ 200, Lillie Mae Webber died about a week before the trial, and the case was revived in the name of Robert Hill as special administrator of her estate.

According to the testimony of the plaintiff Vaughan, he made a contract on a contingent basis with Lillie Mae Webber to sue Mark Webber for the $ 2,000 received by him on the benefit certificate on the life of George Webber. Vaughan was to pay all the expenses of the litigation and was to receive one-half of the amount recovered as his attorney's fee. He spent between $ 100 and $ 150 in preparing the case for trial. He did a good deal of work in preparing the case for trial and in trying it. He recovered the full amount sued for, and one-half of that amount was a reasonable contingent fee.

Two other attorneys testified that such a fee was a reasonable one.

According to the evidence adduced in favor of the defendant, Vaughan was only to receive 10% of the amount recovered, which was $ 200.

As we have already stated, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Vaughan for this amount, and he has duly prosecuted an appeal to this court from the judgment rendered.

Judgment reversed and cause remanded.

Gregory & Holtzendorff, for appellant.

The court erred in transferring the cause to the circuit court. The chancery court has jurisdiction to enforce a lien in favor of an attorney upon land of his client recovered by him. 85 Ark. 101; 28 Ark. 385; 37 Ark. 86; 33 Ark. 233. The court lost jurisdiction of the cause upon lapse of the term 92 Ark. 388. The question of jurisdiction of the chancery court to enforce a statutory lien of an attorney for his fees was upheld by this court. 133 Ark. 430; 85 Ark. 101.

F. E. Brown, for appellee.

The chancellor did not err in transferring the cause to the circuit court. 44 Ark. 478. The appellant had no interest in the judgment, had only a lien upon it, and Lillie Mae Webber had a right to collect the judgment and satisfy the record. 120 Ark. 389; 117 Ark. 504. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate, and shall extend to all cases at law, without regard to the amount involved; but a jury trial may be waived by the parties in the manner prescribed by law. Constitution, art. 2, 7.

OPINION

HART, J. (after stating the facts.)

It is first earnestly insisted by counsel for the plaintiff that the court erred in transferring the case from the chancery court to the circuit court, and in this contention we think counsel are correct. At the outset it may be stated that the plaintiff duly saved his exceptions to the action of the chancery court in transferring the case to the circuit court. An order transferring a cause from a chancery to a circuit court is not a judgment from which an appeal may be taken. Therefore Vaughan had to wait until final judgment was rendered in the circuit court before he could appeal to this court. Womack v. Connor, 74 Ark. 352, 85 S.W. 783.

Under our statute an attorney has a lien upon his client's cause of action for the percentage of the amount recovered which his contract with his client entitles him to receive, and a statutory liability is thereby created.

The parties to the suit had a right to make a settlement, but the act requires that they shall take into consideration the fact that the attorney has a lien upon the cause of action. The...

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22 cases
  • Titan Oil & Gas, Inc. v. Shipley, 74--115
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • December 2, 1974
    ...hand, it is reversible error to transfer a case brought in equity to the law court, if equity has concurrent jurisdiction. Vaughan v. Hill, 154 Ark. 528, 242 S.W. 826. Where there is concurrent jurisdiction, the court which first acquires jurisdiction may, as a rule, retain it. Bagnell Tie ......
  • Askew v. Murdock Acceptance Corp.
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • May 16, 1955
    ...189 Ark. 117, 70 S.W.2d 563; Davis v. Lawhon, 186 Ark. 51, 52 S.W.2d 887; Wright v. LeCroy, 184 Ark. 837, 44 S.W.2d 355; Vaughan v. Hill, 154 Ark. 528, 242 S.W. 826. These cases clearly point out that Circuit Courts and Chancery Courts are of equal dignity, and in cases where there is concu......
  • Village of Niles v. Szczesny
    • United States
    • Illinois Supreme Court
    • January 24, 1958
    ...required, have uniformly held that such an order is not final and appealable. Holder v. Taylor, 233 Ala. 477, 172 So. 761; Vaughan v. Hill, 154 Ark. 528, 242 S.W. 826; Davis v. Petroleum Casualty Co., Tex.Civ.App., 70 S.W.2d 649; Felletter v. Thompson, 133 Conn. 277, 50 A.2d 81; Bernhardt v......
  • Ponder v. Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Co.
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • November 8, 1937
    ... ... Payan, 18 Ark. 583; Whitesides v ... Kershaw & Driggs, 44 Ark. 377; Shumard v ... Phillips, 53 Ark. 37, 13 S.W. 510; Vaughan ... v. Hill, 154 Ark. 528, 242 S.W. 826. But in none of ... those cases, or elsewhere so far as we are able to determine, ... has it been held ... ...
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