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Surrogate John Ingram

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The Attorney General (AG) moved for a determination that attorney Rosenthal and his firm were not entitled to any legal fees for services rendered to the Public Administrator (PA) in the subject 83 estates. The AG also sought repayment to the PA by Rosenthal for distribution to the relevant estates all amounts previously paid for services rendered. Rosenthal was previously ordered to submit affidavits of legal services in each estate conforming to SCPA 1108(2)(c) requirements. As he failed to provide the affidavits, the AG brought these motions. The Court of Appeals in Matter of Feinberg found the former Surrogate neither required Rosenthal to submit affidavits of legal services, nor determined his fees based on consideration of the statutory factors within 1108(2)(c). Thus, to fix Rosenthal’s fees, the court must perform the statutorily required review of fees requested in each estate. In the affirmations in opposition, Rosenthal conceded he could not supply the court with affidavits, thus, the court could not ascertain if fees were justified by the services rendered, as a review of the statutory factors was not discretionary. Rosenthal was directed to repay to the PA, for distribution to the relevant estates, all amounts he and his firm were paid for services rendered to the PA.