Dweck v. Nasser
2008 WL 2602169 (Del.Ch.2008)
The case stems from a business dispute. Dweck’s attorney of record was William Wachtel, and Nasser’s was Kurt Heyman. However, Wachtel reached out to Amnon Shiboleth instead, Nasser’s close friend and long-time primary attorney. Shiboleth was the one who eventually agreed to the settlement.
Did Shiboleth have the authority to enter into the settlement agreement on the defendant’s behalf, even though he was not the attorney of record?
There are three separate sources of an agency relationship:
(1) Actual Authority: Expressly granted either orally or in writing.
(2) Implied Authority: Authority that the agent reasonably believes he has as a result of the principal’s actions.
(3) Apparent Authority: Power that the principal holds his agent out as possessing or permits him to exercise under such circumstances a to preclude denial of its existence.
Here, there was a mixture of each:
(1) Express: Nasser told Shiboleth that he could “talk in his name” and that he would “blindly” sign a settlement at their direction.
(2) Implied: Given Nasser’s actions, as well as his long-standing personal and business relationship with Shiboleth, it was reasonable for Shiboleth to assume he was authorized to settle the case.
(3) Apparent: Nasser’s statements to Dweck’s husband about never intending to read the agreement, and that he would sign when Shiboleth and Heyman told him to do so.