Sam and Joe were very successful real estate salesmen with a long history of personal involvement in sophisticated transactions. Over the years, Joe came to see himself as Sam's mentor. At some point, however, Sam began to resent Joe and the two began having disagreements.
Despite their differences, the two continued to work together on a number of deals. In 1996, a project in the Mid-Atlantic region was coming to fruition and the sale of some properties was expected to produce a very substantial fee for both of them.
Up until that time, there had been few misunderstandings about the division of fees between the two of them. Sam, however, had been very active in putting the project together and bringing the deal to a close. Joe was less active on the day-to-day level, but felt that his involvement was significant in making it happen.
Joe did not attend the settlement, but expected to see a check on his desk within a few days afterwards. The check, as he saw it, was supposed to be for half of the fee: over $175,000 for his share. But, not only did he not get half, he never received a check for any part of the fee. Instead, Sam had deposited the entire fee into one of his own business accounts.
At the time of these events, Joe was already being sued by Sam in Montgomery County. He was being represented in that case by excellent attorneys, but his legal bills were mounting. While he felt confident of the outcome in that case, he was also sure that he did not want to start a new action that would be equally expensive.
His attorneys recommended that he consult Michael Bomstein to talk about his options. Mr. Bomstein advised Joe that his case had a good deal of merit and that he would be willing to take the case on a contingency basis, with Joe footing the out-of-pocket costs of the suit. Mr. Bomstein immediately filed the new suit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.
The case was hotly contested and was complicated by the pending matter in Montgomery County. Joe's attorneys in both cases coordinated their efforts. For more than a year, the matter was fought in the courts. By the end of 2000, however, Sam agreed to resolve the matter by paying almost the entire amount that Joe claimed was due. Joe was satisfied and the case was closed.