Brief Fact Summary.
Steven Danzig sued Jeffrey Danzig for failing to make payment under an illicit contract that violated Washington law.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A contract that is against public policy cannot be upheld.
Jeffrey Danzig (Jeffrey), an attorney, approached Steven Danzig (Steven) to solicit clients in exchange for one-third of the client’s fee, although such a transaction violated Washington law. When Steven solicited a client and was not paid, Steven sued Jeffrey for breach of contract. The trial court dismissed the suit.
Whether a contract that is against public policy can be upheld?
No. The contract should be enforced because the upholding that individual transaction will not bring greater harm to the public. Steven Danzig is also not subject to the Washington statute because he is not an attorney in Washington State. The judgment of the lower courts is reversed.
An illicit contract is permitted where: (1) the public cannot be placed in greater harm because the transaction is complete, (2) no grave moral turpitude exists, (3) the defendant is guilty of the greatest moral turpitude, and (4) prohibiting the contract would provide the defendant with an unfair benefit.