NJ Supreme Court Issues Opinion in Balducci Case

"Courtroom Gavel" by bestlawdir is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

On Wednesday, October 24, 2019, the New Jersey Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Balducci v. Cige, a case concerning lawyer retainer agreements. Attorney Benjamin Folkman argued the case on behalf of the New Jersey Association for Justice, the state’s principal plaintiffs’ bar group, as amicus

The Balducci case concerned lawyer retainer agreements. Specifically, the plaintiff, Lisa Balducci, instituted a declaratory-judgment action to invalidate the retainer agreement into which she entered with her former attorney, defendant Brian Cige, on the ground that Cige procured the agreement in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that govern lawyers. The trial judge voided the agreement, and the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed. However, the Appellate Division also made a number of pronouncements about ethical obligations on attorneys handling fee-shifting claims. 

During oral argument, Ben Folkman argued that the Appellate Division was correct in voiding Cige’s fee agreement, but requested that the Appellate Division’s decision be limited to the facts of that matter, and that the dicta concerning fee agreements in general not be adopted by the Supreme Court.

Today, the Supreme Court issued its opinion. The Supreme Court affirmed the voiding of Cige’s fee agreement, but expressed no ultimate opinion on the Appellate Division’s pronouncements. Instead, the Court will form a committee of experienced judges and attorneys to make recommendations on the questions raised in this case. This committee may also consider whether to revisit a cap on contingent fees in statutorily based
discrimination and employment claims.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of discrimination, contact the experienced lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 856-354-9444 or submit an online inquiry. Our offices are conveniently located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to assist clients throughout the area.