Saturday, March 8, 2008

Disqualifying Fannick: Kurtenbach v. TcKippe

In short, an attorney-client relationship may also be created by a client’s detrimental reliance on the attorney’s statements or conduct. In Kurtenbach v. TcKippe 260 N.W.2d 53 (Iowa, 1977), the court wrote, “An attorney-client relationship ordinarily rests on contract, but it is not necessary that the contract be express or that a retainer be requested or paid. The contract may be implied from conduct of the parties.” Healy v. Gray 184 Iowa 111, 168 N.W. 222 (1918). “The relationship is created when (1) a person seeks advice or assistance from an attorney, (2) the advice or assistance sought pertains to matters within the attorney’s professional competence, and (3) the attorney expressly or impliedly agrees to give or actually gives the desired advice or assistance. Anderson v. Lundt 200 Iowa 1265, 206 NW.657 (1925). In appropriate cases the third9element may be established by proof of detrimental reliance, when the person seeking legal services reasonably relies on the attorney to provide them and the attorney, aware of such reliance, does nothing to negate it. Kukla v. Perry 361 Mich. 311, 105 N.W.2d 176 (t960); Rice v.Forestier 415 S.W.2d 711 (Tex.Civ.App.1967). Kurtenbach v. TeKippe(1977), Iowa, 260 N.W.2d 53,56.

In GMH Associates, Inc. v. Prudential Realty Group 752 A.2d 889 (PAS,2000), the court wrote, “The doctrine of promissory estoppel allows a party, under certain circumstances, to enforce a promise even though the promise is not supported by consideration. Shoemaker v. Commonwealth Bank 700 A.2d 1003, 1007 (Pa.Super. 1997)(citing Thatcher’s Drug Store,supra); Restatement (Second) of Contracts §90. Robert Mallery LumberCorp. v. B. & F. Assoc.. Inc. 440 A.2d 579, 583 (Pa.Super. 1 982)(noting that promissory estoppel has been characterized as a species of or a substitute for consideration). Thus, ‘promissory estoppel makes promises enforceable.” Crouse v. Cyclops Industries 704 A.2d 1090, 1093(Pa.Super. 1997). A party seeking to establish a cause of action based on promissory estoppel must establish that: “(1) the promisor made a promise that he should have reasonably expected would induce action or forbearance on the part of the promisee; (2) the promisee actually took action or refrained from taking action in reliance on the promise; and (3) injustice can be avoided only by enforcing the promise. Shoemaker,supra. Id. However, the doctrine of promissory estoppel does not apply if the complaining party acted on its own will and not as the result of the defendant’s representations.” Ravin Inc. v. First City Co. 692 A.2d577, 581 (Pa.Super. 1997).

10In Artkraft Strauss Sign Corp. v. Dimelj 631 A.2d 1058, 429 Pa.Super. 65(Pa. Super. 1993), the court noted, “The essential elements of estoppelare “an inducement by the party sought to be estopped to the party who asserts the estoppel to believe certain facts exist--and the party asserting the estoppel acts in reliance on that belief.’ Sabino v. Junio441 Pa. 222, 225, 272 A.2d 508, 510 (1971).

Where the actions by the party asserting estoppel were such to promote the condition which now is asserted as an estoppel and the party to be bound by the estoppel did nothing to create the condition, estoppel cannot be alleged. Where there is no concealment, misrepresentation, or other inequitable conduct by the other party, a party may not properly claim that an estoppel arises in his favor from his own omission or mistake. Northwestern National Bank v. Commonwealth 345 Pa. 192, 27 A.2d20 (1942).

The Commonwealth avers that Mr. Kerekes, led to believe that Attorney Fannick was going to represent him as per Attorney Fannick’s press statement, now faces the prospect of the lawyer he confided in, representing his co-conspirator-accomplice Harlow Cuadra, who stated in the nudist beach consensual wiretap, “right then, ya know, my dude comes around. . . It was crazy.” Black’s (nudist) Beach at pg. 48-49) Cuadra continued, “No. No. I only have a sip or two while I keep pouring it and pouring it for him. So by the time the doorbell rang, he got up and he was stumbling and that was it.” Id. at pg. 43-44.