Eldon R. Kenseth and Susan M. Kenseth - Page 28

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         attorney’s fee from petitioners’ gross income here.  In Cotnam,                
         the Alabama statute provided that “attorneys at law shall have                 
         the same right and power over said suits, judgments and decrees,               
         to enforce their liens, as their clients had or may have for the               
         amount due thereon to them.”  Cotnam v. Commissioner, 263 F.2d                 
         119, 125 n.5 (5th Cir. 1959) (quoting Ala. Code sec. 64 (1940)).               
         The relevant Wisconsin statute does not recognize the same right               
         and power in favor of attorneys that was identified in the                     
         Alabama attorney’s lien statute.  The Wisconsin statute provides:              
                    Any person having or claiming a right of action,                    
              sounding in tort or for unliquidated damages on                           
              contract, may contract with any attorney to prosecute                     
              the action and give the attorney a lien upon the cause                    
              of action and upon the proceeds or damages derived in                     
              any action brought for the enforcement of the cause of                    
              action, as security for fees in the conduct of the                        
              litigation; when such agreement is made and notice                        
              thereof given to the opposite party or his or her                         
              attorney, no settlement or adjustment of the action may                   
              be valid as against the lien so created, provided the                     
              agreement for fees is fair and reasonable.  This                          
              section shall not be construed as changing the law in                     
              respect to champertous contracts.  [Wis. Stat. Ann.                       
              sec. 757.36 (West 1981).]                                                 
         This statute provides for an attorney’s lien upon the cause of                 
         action or upon the proceeds or damages from such cause of action               
         to secure compensation, but it does not give attorneys the same                
         rights as their clients over the proceeds of suits, judgments,                 
         and decrees.  Accordingly, the Wisconsin statute contains obvious              
         differences and is distinguishable from the Alabama statute.                   

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