A Pennsylvania lawyer may not collect a referral fee in a New Jersey lawsuit that yielded a $1.9 million verdict because the clients were never told about any fee-sharing arrangement, as New Jersey’s ethical rules require, a federal judge has ruled.

“If New Jersey will not enforce fee-sharing agreements entered into without client consent, we cannot,” U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell wrote in his 14-page opinion in Judge v. McCay.