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Hensley v. Langmade

Supreme Court of Arizona

December 27, 1955

Eugene V. HENSLEY and Martha E. Hensley, Appellants,
v.
Stephen W. LANGMADE and John F. Sullivan, Appellees.

[80 Ariz. 2] W. T. Choisser, Phoenix, for appellants.

James F. Haythornewhite, Phoenix, for appellees.

PHELPS, Justice.

This is an appeal from a judgment in favor of plaintiffs-appellees and against defendants-appellants in the sum of $2,250 as and for the remainder of attorneys' fee for legal services rendered by them.

The facts, insofar as here material, are that appellants, at all times hereinafter mentioned, were husband and wife and that during September 1953 the wife employed appellees to represent her in a divorce action

Page 782

which she instituted against her husband. They continued to render said services until in January, 1954, during which time they succeeded in establishing the character and value of the property owned by appellants. Through such investigation consisting of the taking of depositions, interviews, etc., they developed the fact that the community property owned by the parties had a value of approximately $175,000 instead of $10,000 as claimed by the husband in his answer. Upon the basis of the higher figure an agreement between appellants was reached concerning the division of such property satisfactory to the wife, leaving nothing to be done in the divorce action except the drafting of the property settlement agreement and the uncontested hearing on the plaintiff's complaint.

At this juncture in the proceedings the wife informed appellees to not proceed further in the case and that she would no longer require their services. Prior to this time appellees had procured an order of court requiring the husband to pay to his wife $750 as and for attorneys' fee during the pendency of the action, which were paid. Upon receiving information that their services were no longer needed appellees filed a petition with the court in the divorce action[80 Ariz. 3] asking that they be permitted to present evidence before it to show the extent and value of the services rendered the wife in the divorce action together with disbursements made by them in her behalf and that it determine and fix a reasonable amount as and for attorneys' fee in the case. A hearing was had on the petition on January 21, 1954, at which time both appellants and appellees in that case were represented by counsel and introduced evidence, and there appears on the records of the court on that date the following minute entry:

'37684 Martha E. Hensley

John F. Sullivan present

Jack C. Cavness present

vs.

Eugene V. Hensley

William T. Choisser present

'Hearing on Petition for allowance of attorney fee and disbursements. The respective parties are present. Mr. Cavness appears as attorney for the plaintiff Martha E. Hensley subject to the withdrawal of Langmade & Sullivan as attorneys for the plaintiff.

'Counsel stipulate that the court may fix fee. Stephen W. Langmade is sworn and testifies. Mark Wilmer is sworn and testifies. Martha E. Hensley is sworn and testifies. Counsel present brief argument to the court and the matter is ...


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