Holker v. Parker
11 U.S. 436

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U.S. Supreme Court

Holker v. Parker, 11 U.S. 7 Cranch 436 436 (1813)

Holker v. Parker

11 U.S. (7 Cranch) 436


Decided: that an attorney at law, as such, has authority to submit the cause to arbitration. But an attorney at law, merely as such, has no right, strictly speaking, to make a compromise for his client.

Although an attorney at law has no right to make a compromise, yet a court will be disinclined to disturb one which was not so unreasonable in itself as to be exclaimed against by all, and to create an impression that the judgment of the attorney has been imposed upon, or not fairly exercised. But where the sacrifice is such as to leave it scarcely possible that, with a full knowledge of every circumstance, such a compromise could be fairly made, there can be no hesitation in saying that the compromise, being unauthorized, and being therefore in itself void, ought not to bind the injured party. Though it may assume the form of an award or a judgment at law, the injured party ought to be relieved against it.

This was an appeal from the Circuit Court for the District of Massachusetts in a suit in chancery brought by Holker and others his assignees against Parker to set aside an award made under a rule of court in a suit at law in the same court between Holker and Parker.

The case, as stated by MR. CHIEF JUSTICE MARSHALL in delivering the opinion of the Court, was as follows:

In the year 1782, John Holker, one of the plaintiffs in this cause, Daniel Parker, the defendant, and William Duer, who is dead insolvent, formed a trading company under the name and firm of Daniel Parker & Co., of which Daniel Parker was the acting partner. After receiving large sums of money and contracting debts to a great amount, Parker absconded from the United States without making any settlement of his accounts. In the month of December, 1785, Holker commenced a suit against Parker in the Court of Common Pleas for the County of Philadelphia, where the said Parker had resided and carried on the business of the co-partnership. This suit was commenced by attaching the effects of Parker in the hands of Thomas Fitzsimmons. In June, 1788, a judgment in favor of the said Holker was rendered on the verdict of a jury for the sum of

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