• Skin in the Game' and Caveat Avvocati: Monitoring the Level Playing Field on Counsel Fee Awards
  • August 4, 2015 | Author: Lee Rosenberg
  • Law Firm: Saltzman Chetkof & Rosenberg LLP - Garden City Office
  • In the pendente lite and subsequent trial decision in Sykes v Sykes,, New York County Supreme Court Justice Matthew F. Cooper limited a less monied spouse’s ability to perpetuate litigation with an unfettered blank check for counsel fees. In his use of the phrase “skin in the game” to indicate the need of the less monied spouse (and, in effect, their attorneys) to have a financial risk in the litigation and its outcome, Justice Cooper has raised an issue which has now been cited in two other cases to date-one, Westreich v Westreich involving another pair of wealthy litigants (as in Sykes), the second case, Antizzo v Cannizzaro being on the opposite end of the spectrum. What then are the ramifications of “skin in the game” to the average middle class and less well-off litigants? And what of the attorneys and their “less monied” clients whose expectation of payment from the monied spouse is compromised?