Peck v. Heurich - 167 U.S. 624 (1897)
U.S. Supreme Court
Peck v. Heurich, 167 U.S. 624 (1897)
Peck v. Heurich
Argued April 26-27, 1897
Decided May 24, 1897
167 U.S. 624
ERROR TO THE COURT OF APPEALS
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
A judgment cannot be affirmed upon a ground not taken at the trial unless it is made clear beyond doubt that this could not prejudice the rights of the plaintiff in error.
By the common law, prevailing in the District of Columbia, an agreement by an attorney at law to prosecute at his own expense, a suit to recover land in which he personally has and claims no title or interest, present or contingent, in consideration of receiving a certain proportion of what he may recover is unlawful and void for champerty.
A deed conveying lands in the District of Columbia to an attorney at law and another person in trust that the grantees should sue for, take possession of, and sell the lands, and that the attorney should retain one-third of the proceeds after paying out of it all the costs and expenditures, and that the other two-thirds, clear of any costs or charges whatever, should be paid to the grantors, is void for champerty, and will not sustain an action by the grantees to recover part of the lands from third persons.