Attorney’s Fee as an Element of Compensatory Damages
When attorney’s fees are being sought as an element of compensatory damages, there is NO requirement for an expert to opine as to the reasonableness of the attorney’s fees. Rodriguez v. Altomare, 261 So.3d 590, 592 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018). “If, however, a party is seeking to recover previously incurred attorney’s fees as an element of compensatory damages in a separate breach of contract action, that party is not required to provide an independent expert witness to corroborate the reasonableness of the fees.” Id. See also Sea World of Florida, Inc. v. Ace American Ins. Companies, Inc., 28 So.3d 158, 160 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010) (“In the instant case, Sea World prevailed on its contractual indemnity claim against Hobart. Pursuant to the terms of the contract, Sea World was entitled to recover attorney’ fees incurred in the defense of DuFault’ lawsuit. Thus, this case involves a situation where Sea World was seeking to recover previously incurred attorney’s fees as an element of damages in a breach of contract action. As such, Sea World’ burden of proof was that which is required in a breach of contract action – the presentation of evidence ‘sufficient to satisfy the mind of a prudent, impartial person’ as to the amount of awardable damages….Although Sea World was entitled to call an independent expert witness to corroborate the reasonableness of [attorney’s] fees, it was not required to do so.”) (internal citations omitted).
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