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In Re Estate of Sugar

SEPTEMBER 3, 1974.

IN RE ESTATE OF BENJAMIN SUGAR, DECEASED — (C. JEROME BISHOP, CLAIMANT-APPELLEE,

v.

AMERICAN NATIONAL BANK AND TRUST COMPANY ET AL., RESPONDENTS-APPELLANTS.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ALVIN J. KVISTAD, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE BURKE DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This action involves a claim by attorney C. Jerome Bishop (hereinafter "Bishop") against the estate of deceased attorney Benjamin Sugar (hereinafter "Sugar") on a written agreement between Bishop and Sugar. Bishop asks for an accounting of fees allegedly due him in cases pending on the day of attorney Sugar's death.

The estate of Sugar filed an answer asserting, as its first separate defense, that the agreement terminated by its express provisions upon Sugar's death, and that accordingly Bishop had no claim to income received by the estate after the termination of the agreement. On July 12, 1971, the trial court entered an order denying this defense. On June 27, 1972, the trial court found that Bishop was entitled to an accounting and on January 10, 1973, granted Bishop's claim in the amount of $8,847.27. The estate appeals.

In August, 1968, attorneys Sugar and Bishop entered into a verbal agreement for an association in the practice of handling personal injury cases. On May 30, 1969, they entered into a written agreement providing, in pertinent part, as follows:

"THIS AGREEMENT, made and entered into this 30th day of May, 1969, by and between BENJAMIN SUGAR * * * and C. JEROME BISHOP * * *

WITNESSETH:

WHEREAS, the parties hereto are attorneys at law, duly licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois, and

WHEREAS, said attorneys have been associated with each other in the practice of law for a number of years last past, and

WHEREAS, the parties hereto desire to set forth herein their arrangements for continuation of that association,

NOW, THEREFORE, it is hereby mutually agreed as follows:

1. The term of this agreement shall commence on June 1, 1969 and continue for a period of two (2) years from that date. If the parties hereto desire to extend the agreement beyond that period it shall be extended for terms of one year each by an instrument in writing signed by both of the parties hereto.

2. Bishop shall continue to perform legal work including trial work and services for Sugar in the fashion and manner that Bishop has so performed in the past. Trial work shall be performed by Bishop and such attorneys as Bishop shall engage from time to time on Sugar's behalf.

3. Bishop shall pay Sugar One Hundred ($100.00) Dollars per month as rent for the office Bishop occupies in Sugar's suite, and all services rendered to Bishop in connection therewith. In addition, Bishop shall pay to Sugar one third (33 1/3%) of Bishop's fees received by Bishop on Bishop's cases.

4. Sugar shall pay to Bishop thirty (30%) percent of the gross income received by Sugar from Sugar's cases, but Sugar shall pay to Bishop not less than Twenty-five Thousand ($25,000.00) Dollars per year for each year of the term of this agreement, which shall be paid to Bishop at the rate of Five Hundred ($500.00) Dollars per week, except for two weeks of each year. After the end of each year of the term of this agreement, as soon as the figures and ...


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