I am the prevailing party and I am entitled to recover my attorney’s fees from the opposing party! Now what?
If you are unable to come to an agreement with the opposing side regarding the amount of attorney’s fees you incurred, then you need to have an evidentiary hearing for the court to determine your reasonable attorney’s fees. This requires your attorney to testify as to the rates and the number of hours expended on the matter. This also importantly requires to you to have an expert testify as to the reasonableness of the attorney’s fees you incurred. See Jaffe v. In re: Guardianship of Jaffe, 147 So.3d 578, 581 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014) (explaining that proving reasonable attorney’s fees must be supported by expert witness testimony). This expert is nothing more than another attorney that testifies that the rates are reasonable and the number of hours expended was reasonable. This expert is known as a reasonable attorney’s fees expert.
The good news is that this reasonable attorney’s fees expert may be taxed as a cost against the opposing party. Travieso v. Travieso, 474 So.2d 1184 (Fla. 1985); accord Jaffe, 147 So.3d 578; Mangel v. Bob Dance Dodge, Inc., 739 So.2d 720 (Fla. 1999).
More than likely, a court is going to tax your reasonable attorney’s fees expert as a cost against the opposing party. Knowing this, a so-called losing party should try to avoid the evidentiary attorney’s fees hearing by coming to an agreement with the prevailing party as to the reasonable attorney’s fees.
Please contact David Adelstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.