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Clem v. Watts

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 18, 2015

Richard A. Clem, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
Paul J. Watts, Appellee-Plaintiff

Appeal from the Owen Circuit Court. The Honorable Dena Martin, Special Judge. Cause No. 60C01-1312-PL-567.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: Mark Small, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Paul J. Watts, APPELLEE, Pro se, Spencer, Indiana.

Sharpnack, Senior Judge. Friedlander, J., and Pyle, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 790

Sharpnack, Senior Judge

Statement of the Case

[¶ 1] Attorney Richard Clem appeals the trial court's denial of his summary judgment motion and the grant of attorney Paul Watts' summary judgment motion following Watts' complaint seeking judgment against Clem for attorney fees in a dissolution case.

[¶ 2] We reverse and remand with instructions for the trial court to enter summary judgment in favor of Clem.

Issue

[¶ 3] The sole issue is one of statutory interpretation and asks us to determine whether pursuant to Indiana Code section 33-43-4-2 (2004) an attorney fee lien is valid if the intention to hold a lien is filed before judgment is rendered in the case.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶ 4] The dispositive facts are undisputed. In April 2011, Wife retained Watts to represent her in a dissolution proceeding in Hamilton County. Fourteen months later, in June 2012, Wife discharged Watts. Watts withdrew his appearance in July 2012. On September 6, 2012, Watts filed a Notice of Attorney Fee Lien in the Hamilton Circuit Court wherein he " enter[ed] his intention . . . to hold a lien pursuant to Indiana Code § 33-43-4-1 on all money and property awarded to [Wife] . . . ." Appellant's App. p. 15. The Notice further provided that the lien was in the amount of $5,649.48.

[¶ 5] In September 2013, the Hamilton Circuit Court issued a dissolution decree that directed Clem, who was Husband's counsel, to make ...


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