Kellogg v. Bell
A court may consider the time and labor required, and the novelty and difficulty of legal questions, when it awards attorneys' fees. Allegedly, the plaintiff, William Kellogg, represented the defendant client, Easter Bell, after Bell was divorced in 2005, and Bell agreed to pay $325 per hour. Kellogg allegedly defended Bell from a claim she was in contempt of court, garnished the former husband's savings account, and drafted pleadings to foreclose on property that Bell's former husband owned in South Carolina, after he placed a lien on the property. Kellogg also obtained an order that Bell's former husband owed her $25,000 and defended the appeal of that order to the Appellate Court. Kellogg sued his former client, alleging that he worked 80 hours, she paid $6,500, and that he subtracted funds that he collected from his client's husband and provided $2,000 of legal services for free. Kellogg alleged that his client owed $16,219. Although the defendant claimed that the plaintiff ceased representing her in May 2010, the court found that the plaintiff prepared an appearance for the defendant to represent herself and then continued to represent the defendant, with the expectation that the defendant would pay for his legal services. The court found that the plaintiff was entitled to attorneys' fees for work performed until November 2011, except for time he spent to recover a tax penalty that he caused to occur to protect his own financial interests. The court approved the attorney's hourly rate and the amount of time worked. The legal issues in the post judgment dissolution hearings were complicated and highly contested. The plaintiff protected the defendant's interests. The court awarded the plaintiff $13,862.