Weil v. Neary,
278 U.S. 160 (1929)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Weil v. Neary, 278 U.S. 160 (1929)

Weil v. Neary

No. 59

Argued October 26, 1928

Decided January 2, 1929

278 U.S. 160


1. When, in a common law suit in a district court, the issues have been referred to a referee in accord with the local practice by consent of parties, and the referee's findings of fact and conclusions of law have been approved and adopted by that court, the appellate court may examine the findings and determine whether they support the judgment. Rev.Stats. § 649. P. 278 U. S. 163.

2. A bankruptcy rule of a district court forbidding trustees in bankruptcy to retain as their attorney the attorney for creditors of the bankrupt, is valid and has the force of law. Pp. 278 U. S. 165-169.

3. A contract between an attorney for trustees in bankruptcy and an attorney for creditors whereby the compensation to be allowed the former by the court for his services for the trustees shall be shared with the latter and such services shall be performed under the latter's supervision, is contrary to public policy and professional ethics, and is void, even though there was no actual fraud and the results were beneficial to the estate. Pp. 278 U. S. 167, 278 U. S. 171.

4. Upon review of a judgment recovered on such a contract by the attorney who had acted for creditors against the one who had acted for the trustees in bankruptcy, this Court can only reverse the judgment and direct a dismissal of the action, leaving the successful party to restore the fees in controversy to the bankrupt estate by appropriate steps in the bankruptcy court. P. 278 U. S. 174

22 F.2d 893 reversed.

Page 278 U. S. 161

Certiorari, 276 U.S. 613, to a judgment of the Circuit Court of Appeals affirming a judgment recovered against Weil and Thorp on their contract with Untermyer. The contract provided that the compensation to be received by Weil and Thorp as attorneys for the trustees in a bankruptcy proceeding should be enjoyed in part by Untermyer, and that their services as such attorneys should be performed under his supervision. The contract had been assigned by Untermyer to Neary.

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