Yousef Yahudaii, Plaintiff, v. _____

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

Yousef Yahudaii, Plaintiff, v. Nourallah Baroukhian, etc., Defendant–Appellant, Manouchehr Malekan, et al., Defendants.  _____ Reisman, Peirez & Reisman, L.L.P., Nonparty Respondent.


Decided: November 17, 2011

Gonzalez, P.J., Tom, Catterson, Richter, Román, JJ. Nourallah Baroukhian, appellant pro se.   Reisman Peirez Reisman & Capobianco LLP, Garden City (Jerome Reisman of counsel), for respondent

pro se.


Appeal from order, Supreme Court, New York County (Marcy S. Friedman, J.), entered August 5, 2010, which, inter alia, granted nonparty respondent's motion to confirm the judicial hearing officer's report, following an inquest, determining the reasonable value of the legal services rendered and disbursements paid by respondent on behalf of defendant Nourallah Baroukhian in the underlying commercial foreclosure action, deemed appeal from judgment, same court and Justice, entered September 14, 2010 (CPLR 5520[c] ), against said defendant in favor of respondent in the total amount of $72,572.25, and, so considered, said judgment unanimously affirmed, without costs.

The JHO's findings are supported by the record (see Barrett v. Toroyan, 45 AD3d 301 [2007] ).   To the extent defendant challenges the quality of the legal services provided, his contentions are unavailing, because he failed to raise them before the JHO (see Marcano v. U–Haul Co. of Va., 82 AD3d 479 [2011];  DiIorio v. Gibson & Cushman of N.Y., 204 A.D.2d 167 [1994] ).   Similarly, at the inquest, defendant failed to raise the claim that he was misled as to what was scheduled to take place on the day of the inquest itself.

We find that the fee dispute is not subject to arbitration.   While the retainer agreement properly references Part 137 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, the fee dispute resolution program established by part 137 does not apply to fee disputes involving sums of more than $50,000, absent the consent of the parties (see 22 NYCRR 137.1[b][2] ).   We have reviewed defendant's remaining contentions and find them unavailing.