Epstein v. Abrams, (1997, 2nd Dist., Div. 4) 57 Cal.App.4th 1159; 67 Cal.Rptr.2d 555,

Epstein v. Abrams, (1997, 2nd Dist., Div. 4) 57 Cal.App.4th 1159; 67 Cal.Rptr.2d 555,

Mr. Horwitz sought review of an order from the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, which granted approval of a settlement and defeated his client’s attorney’s lien in a breach of a noncompetition agreement action between appellee veterinarians and appellant’s former clients. Mr. Horwitz’s client, a lawyer, represented a former client and client’s business in an action for breach of a noncompetition agreement brought by appellee veterinarian. Appellant secured a summary judgment for the former client, and was awarded attorney’s fees. After appellant filed and served his contractual attorney’s lien, appellee and the former client, on behalf of his business, entered into a settlement agreement, which included the former client’s agreement to execute a satisfaction of judgment for his attorney’s fees and cost.

The trial court granted approval of the settlement, and appellant sought review. The court reversed. The validity of the attorney’s lien was not before the court. Appellant properly brought a separate action to establish the existence, amount, and execution of the lien. The trial court exceeded its jurisdiction by approving the settlement pursuant to Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §§ 708.440 and it could not have had jurisdiction to approve the settlement under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §§ 491.440(b). Reversal of the trial court’s order merely entitled appellant to pursue his independent action on his attorney’s lien.

The court, holding that the validity of the attorney’s lien was not before the court and that appellant properly brought a separate action to establish the existence, amount, and execution of the lien, that the trial court had no jurisdiction under the judgment lien or attachment lien statutes to approve the settlement, and that the reversal of the trial court’s order entitled appellant to pursue his separate action on his attorney’s lien.