Client cannot sue attorney who signed settlement agreement without consent
IGC Management joined with other subcontractors to sue to recover for their construction lien on a developed property. The hired attorney Christian Hauser on a contingent fee to pursue their claim. Unfortunately, the property was subject to a mortgage lien of higher priority, leaving inadequate resources to repay the contractors and the bank. Ordered to facilitation, all of the other sub-contractors agreed to accept a settlement that resulted in a partial payment to the subs. IGC refused to sign the settlement, however, and ultimately Hauser signed it for the remaining subcontractors, asking the facilitator to reserve a n unsigned ignature line to denote IGC's declination.
The trial judge enforced the settlement against all of the subcontractors and Hauser and IGC ended up in suit with Hauser claiming fees and costs and IGC claiming malpractice. The trial judge granted summary dispostion to Hauser on his claim and the claim against him. The Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the summary disposition, despite its holding that Hauser's signature on the mediation agreement, without all of his clients' consent, constituted an ethical violation.