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Arbitration – Attorneys – Fee Dispute – Stipulations – Retainer Contract & Amendment

Holding: Even though the parties stipulated that the Sept. 14, 2011, disbursement of settlement funds was done pursuant to their March 2010 retainer agreement, the arbitrator could nevertheless consider the plaintiff-clients’ evidence that the parties had modified the retainer agreement after March 12, 2010 (by capping the amount of fees at $40,000). The arbitrator’s reasoning shows that he did not disregard the parties’ stipulations, and it was within the arbitrator’s purview to determine that the retainer agreement had been modified.

We affirm the trial court’s confirmation of the arbitration award in favor of the clients.

Barnhill v. Farrell (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-031-18, 14 pp.) (Hunter Murphy, J.) Appealed from Wake County Superior Court (Paul Ridgeway, J.) John Walter Bryant and Amber Ivie for plaintiffs; Richard Farrell for defendants. N.C. App. Unpub.


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