Griffin v. Lee

621 F.3d 380 (5th Cir. 2010)


Griffin (P) originally brought this action in Louisiana state court, by filing his Petition for Fraud and Unjust Enrichment and for Return of Monies. Ds removed the case to federal court based solely on the court's diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. The district court granted Ds' Motions for Summary Judgment and dismissed all of P's claims against them with prejudice. Lee filed his Motion to Intervene. Lee, an attorney, represented P in the underlying lawsuit in this case, in which P sought reformation of a trust of which he was a beneficiary. P advanced various state law claims, including fraud, against Ds, who included successor Trustee JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. ['Trustee'], and its officers. Lee was allowed to withdraw from representation. Lee sought recovery of attorney's fees. Lee filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2) and Motion for Additional Conservatory Relief. The district court granted Lee's Motion to Intervene. Lee calculated his attorney's fees to be $51,000.00, in addition to the $ 3,087.51 in costs incurred. The Court scheduled a bench trial on the merits of Lee's Petition for June 29, 2009. Neither P nor his new attorney appeared at the June 29, 2009 bench trial. The district court entered Judgment on July 7, 2009, in favor of Lee and against D, in the amount of $ 16,068.00, with legal interest from the date of Judgment, in the form of a privilege on the funds in the Trust. P disputes the amount awarded, and that any award should exist as a lien or encumbrance on the Trust. The court sua sponte asked for briefs on the question of supplemental jurisdiction.