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Incentive for Taking Case on Contingency – the Contingency Fee Multiplier

A recent appellate decision came out regarding contingency fee multipliers--the incentive for taking a case on contingency.   I included a thorough discussion on the requirements establishing a contingency fee multiplier here.  Check out this discussion that goes into establishing reasonable attorney's fees and then the contingency fee multiplier. Notably, in this case, the appellate court affirmed that the elements associated with establishing an entitlement to a contingency fee multiplier are as follows: (1) whether the relevant market requires a contingency fee multiplier to obtain competent counsel (i.e., whether there are attorneys in the relevant market and would have taken the case on...

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Sufficient Factual Detail to Support Four Prongs of Temporary Injunction

“An order on a motion for temporary injunction entered by a trial court must be based on [1] the likelihood of irreparable harm, [2] the unavailability of an adequate remedy at law, [3] the substantial likelihood of success on the merits, and [4] considerations of public interest.”  XIP Technologies, LLC v. Ascend Global Services, LLC,  43 Fla.L.Weekly D1850a (Fla. 2d DCA 2018).  A trial court’s order granting a temporary injunction must contain clear factual detail to support each of these four prongs.  Id. A trial court has discretion to grant or deny a motion for temporary injunction.  Its discretion, however, is...

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Inducement is NOT a Required Element in Proving the Defense of Unilateral Mistake

Earlier this year I wrote an article regarding proving the defense of unilateral mistake.  In that article, I discussed a case where the appellate court ruled a party asserting the defense of unilateral mistake must prove that the mistake was induced by the party seeking to benefit from the mistake.  Based on this opinion, a party moved for a rehearing en bank under Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.331--see applicable portion of 9.331(d)(1)--arguing that in some prior opinions the appellate court required a party asserting unilateral mistake to prove inducement, and in other decisions it did not.  The appellate court granted...

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Serving a Florida Statute s. 57.105 Motion for Sanctions

Appellate courts have been all over the place regarding how to serve a motion for sanctions under Florida Statute s. 57.105 that it has become borderline ridiculous.  Of course, this is my opinion, but the ridiculousness prompts the question mark in the photo.    A motion for sanctions under s. 57.105 is served when a claim or defense is NOT supported by material facts or is NOT supported by the application of then-existing law to the material facts and the party or party’s counsel knew or should have known of same.  Stated more simplistically, this motion gives rise when a claim...

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Quick Note: Action for Declaratory Relief to Obtain a Certificate of Title

Recently, I have received a spate of phone calls relating to filing a lawsuit for declaratory relief to establish ownership of a motor vehicle.  As a result of these calls, I decided to write a quick note about this subject. This issue is prompted by a person going to Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) and the DMV telling the person, or sending the person a letter, that he/she needs to file a lawsuit for declaratory relief in order to obtain a court order awarding ownership of the motor vehicle to the person and directing the DMV to...

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Quick Note: Interpretation of a Contract (Policy) is for the Court, Not the Jury

The construction / interpretation of a contract including an insurance policy is a question of law. This means it is for the court, not the jury, to interpret a contract. While there are times parties may prefer to delegate this responsibility to a jury, this is not allowed. In a recent property insurance coverage dispute, the insured, over the insurer's objection, was able to get jury instructions instructing to the jury regarding the interpretation of the insurance policy.  On appeal, the appellate remanded the case back to the trial court for a new trial, as the interpretation of the policy...

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Condominium’s Declaration is a Contract

A condominium’s declaration is a contract.  As a unit owner, it serves as your contract and will govern your rights with your condominium association.  Just like any contract, disputes arise between a unit owner and the association regarding the interpretation of the declaration.  And, no different than any contract, the interpretation of a declaration is reviewed under a de novo standard of appellate review.  See Lenzi v. The Regency Tower Ass’n, 43 Fla.L.Weekly D1397a (Fla. 4th DCA 2018). Lenzi serves as an example of a dispute involving a condominium unit owner and his association regarding the interpretation of a provision in...

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Equitable Estoppel Circumstances to Allow Non-Signatory to Compel Arbitration

Arbitration is a creature of contract, meaning if you want your disputes to be resolved by arbitration through an arbitrator (as opposed to litigation with a judge and/or jury), you need to include an arbitration provision in your contract.   A trial court granting or denying a party’s motion to compel arbitration is a non-final order that is immediately appealable.  See Fla.R.App.P. 9.130(a)(3)(C)(iv). There are times that a non-signatory to a contract with an arbitration provision wants to compel arbitration.  For example, a signatory to a contract (with an arbitration provision) files suit against a non-party and the non-party moves to compel...

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Value of Severability Clause

Severability clauses have become fairly commonplace in contracts.  Cut and paste provisions.  However, these clauses can provide tremendous value.  A sample of a severability clause is as follows: If any provision of this Agreement, the deletion of which would not adversely affect the receipt of any material benefit by or in favor of any party or substantially increase the burden of any party to this Agreement, shall be held to be invalid or unenforceable to any extent, the same shall not affect in any respect whatsoever the validity or enforceability of the remainder of this Agreement. There are numerous ways to draft...

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Risk in Purchasing Property Subject to a Pending Foreclosure and Lis Pendens

When real property is the subject to a pending foreclosure action where there is a lis pendens (a formal notice), a buyer that purchase the property outside of the foreclosure ?does so at his own risk because he is on notice that the property is subject to the foreclosure action [through the lis pendens].? Bymel v. Bank of America, N.A., 159 So.3d 345, 346 (Fla. 3d DCA 2015). The buyer is not permitted to intervene in the pending foreclosure action. See id. at 346-47. In a recent case, The Bank of New York Mellon v. HOA Rescue Fund, LLC, 43...

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