[PART IV. ATTORNEYS]

 

507-81 Attorney's lien upon actions and judgments. (a) An attorney has a lien upon:

(1) Actions, suits, and proceedings after commencement of the action or arbitration proceeding;

(2) Judgments, decrees, orders, settlements, and awards entered by the court or an arbitrator in favor of the client; and

(3) Any proceeds paid in satisfaction of the judgment, decree, order, settlement, or award.

(b) The lien shall be for:

(1) The fees and compensation specifically agreed upon with the client;

(2) The reasonable value of the services of the attorney, if there is no fee agreement;

(3) Any costs advanced by the attorney; and

(4) Any fees or commissions taxed or allowed by the court.

(c) Except for tax liens, prior liens of record on the real and personal property subject to the lien created by this section, and as provided in section (d), the attorney's lien is superior to all other liens.

(d) When the attorney's lien attaches to a judgment, decree, order, settlement, or award allowing or enforcing a client's lien, the attorney's lien has the same priority as the client's lien with regard to personal or real property subject to the client's lien.

(e) The attorney's lien on a judgment, decree, order, settlement, or award remains valid as long as the judgment, decree, order, settlement, or award remains valid.

(f) To be enforceable under this section, a notice of claim of the attorney's lien shall be filed with the court or arbitrator, as the case may be.

(g) Except as provided by subsections (i) and (j), the attorney's lien is not affected by a settlement between the parties to the action, suit, or proceeding before or after the judgment, decree, order, or award.

(h) Except as provided by subsections (i) and (j), a party to the action, suit, or proceeding or any other person shall not have the right to discharge or dismiss any judgment, decree, order, settlement, or award entered in the action, suit, or proceeding until the lien and claim of the attorney for fees based thereon is satisfied in full.

(i) A party may pay the full amount of a judgment, decree, order, settlement, or award into court, and the clerk of the court shall thereupon fully satisfy the judgment, decree, order, settlement, or award on the record, and the party shall be thereby released from any further claims thereunder.

(j) If more than one attorney from the same firm appears of record for a party, the satisfaction of the lien created by this section by one of the attorneys is conclusive evidence that the lien is fully satisfied.

(k) Attorneys have the same right and power over actions, suits, proceedings, judgments, decrees, orders, settlements, and awards to enforce their liens as their clients have for the amount due thereon to them. [L 2004, c 48, 2; am L 2011, c 136, 1]

 

Case Notes

 

Where the child support enforcement agency recorded a lien prior to an attorney's lien established for payment of fees in an unrelated action, the child support enforcement agency's lien took priority; this section does not grant attorneys a superior or separate right to their clients' property over a prior recorded lien. 133 H. 311, 328 P.3d 320 (2014).

Where the child support enforcement agency recorded a lien prior to an attorney's lien established for payment of fees in an unrelated action, the circuit court did not violate the attorney's due process rights by granting priority to the child support enforcement agency's lien. 133 H. 311, 328 P.3d 320 (2014).

 

 

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