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ProveMyFloridaCase.com > Posts tagged "attorneys’ fees"

Attorney’s Fees to Prevailing Party Under FDUTPA Claim are PERMISSIVE

In a Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (known as FDUTPA) claim, a claimant will seek attorney’s fees under Florida Statute s. 501.2015(1).  However, this statute uses the permissive word, “may” when it comes to awarding attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.  With the use of such a permissive word, the trial court has discretion to award or not award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.  Stated differently, the award of attorney's fees is not mandatory. In an older case, Humane Society of Broward County, Inc. v. Florida Humane Society, 951 So.2d 966 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007), the appellate court...

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Contingency Fee Multiplier – Must Establish the Relevant Market Factor

Should a contingency fee multiplier be applied?   A recent case involving an architectural lien foreclose case explains the contingency fee multiplier standard. Initially, the trial court determines through an evidentiary hearing the reasonable attorney’s fees to be awarded to the prevailing party.  This is done by applying the lodestar method laid out in Florida Patient's Compensation Fund v. Rowe, 472 So.2d 1145 (Fla. 1985). Impex Caribe Corp. v. Carl Levin, P.A., 47 Fla. L. Weekly D544a, n.1 (Fla. 3d DCA 2022) (“The trial court arrives at the lodestar amount by multiplying the number of reasonable hours expended by a reasonable hourly rate.”). Then,...

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Consider Prevailing Party Attorney’s Fees before Voluntarily Dismissing Case

Here is an important thing to note:  do NOT just voluntarily dismiss a lawsuit where there is a basis for attorney’s fees because you could be liable for the other party’s fees.  This was the unfortunate circumstance in Catamaran B.Y., Inc. v. Giordano, 47 Fla.L.Weekly D179a (Fla. 3d DCA 2022).  This is an unfortunate circumstance you absolutely want to avoid. In this case, a plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit against the defendant without prejudice.  The defendant then moved for attorney’s fees based on a contractual attorney's fees provision between the parties. The trial court denied the defendant's motion for attorney’s fees...

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Confession of Judgment does Not Start the Clock to File Motion for Attorney’s Fees

There are times a party rightfully moves to strike another party’s motion for attorney’s fees for being untimely. There are other times a party may try to create a “gotcha” moment to catch a party off guard to create a strategic argument that the motion for attorney’s fees was untimely.   The latter is the scenario in the insurance coverage case discussed below. Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.525 provides: “Any party seeking a judgment taxing costs, attorneys' fees, or both shall serve a motion no later than 30 days after filing of the judgment, including a judgment of dismissal, or the service...

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Quick Note: Motion for Protective Order Reviewed Under Abuse of Discretion Standard of Review

The ruling on a motion for protective order is reviewed for abuse of discretion.  An abuse of discretion occurs where the trial court's ruling is based on an erroneous view of the law or on a clearly erroneous assessment of the evidence. Buzby v. Turtle Rock Community Association, Inc., 47 Fla. L. Weekly D99a (Fla. 2d DCA 2022) (internal quotations and citations omitted). In this case, discussed further here, an attorney being deposed on his own attorney’s fees moved for a protective order claiming he was entitled to be paid for his time as an expert witness.  The trial court found the...

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Recovering Attorney’s Fees “Incurred” on Party’s Behalf

Simply because a defendant does not pay his/her/its own attorney's fees does not mean the defendant is not entitled to recover attorney’s fees incurred on his/her/its behalf.  That wouldn’t seem to make much sense since attorney's fees would have been incurred on the defendant’s behalf.  Who actually writes the check to pay the attorney's fees is really of no moment, right?   Therefore, do not bank your argument that another party will never be entitled to recover their fees because that other party did not personally pay for his/her/its own attorney's fees. This was the argument raised in Jain v. Buchanan...

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Attorney’s Fees do Not have to be Quantified in Proposal for Settlement

Does a proposal for settlement have to specifically quantify the amount of attorney’s fees if the proposal wants to factor the other party’s attorney’s fees into the equation? According the recent opinion in Safepoint Insurance Co. v. Williams, 46 Fla. L. Weekly D2406b (Fla. 3d DCA 2021), the answer is No.  The proposal can leave it up to the court (per a fee hearing) where the fees plus the judgment amount get factored in to determine whether that amount meets the proposal for settlement threshold for entitlement to attorney’s fees. In Safepoint Insurance Co., the defendant served a proposal for settlement...

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Calculating the Judgment Obtained in Determining Proposals for Settlement

There are numerous prior postings discussing proposals for settlement / offers of judgment.  As discussed, they create an argument to recover attorney’s fees from the date of the proposal on forward.  A recent case discusses the thorny issues of determining whether the “judgment obtained” by the plaintiff meets the threshold to recover attorney’s fees when serving a proposal for settlement under Florida Statute s. 768.79. In this case, the plaintiff served a proposal for settlement on March 21, 2019. The defendant did not accept the proposal.  The case proceeded to trial and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the...

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There can be a Winner for Prevailing Party Attorney’s Fees when Both Parties Lose

From reviewing prior articles on attorney’s fees, you know that to be deemed the prevailing party for purposes of attorney’s fees, particularly under a contractual based claim, a party needs to prevail on the significant issues in the case. What if a plaintiff has asserted a claim against a defendant and a defendant has a asserted a claim against the plaintiff and both parties LOSE on their affirmative claims?  Can a party still be deemed to prevail on the significant issues in the case?  That answer is yes based on the holding by the Second District Court of Appeals in Carrollwood...

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Attorney’s Fees and the “American Rule”

Not every cause of action asserted gives rise to an argument to recover attorney’s fees.  Florida follows what is known as the “American Rule” which is “attorney’s fees may be awarded by a court only when authorized by statute or agreement of the parties.”  State Farm Fire & Casualty Co v. Palma., 629 So.2d 830, 833 (Fla. 1993); Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co., N.A. v. Fitzgerald, 215 So.3d 116, 119 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017) (“It is well-established that attorney’s fees may not be awarded unless authorized by contract or statute.”); accord Attorney’s Title Ins. Fund, Inc., v. Landa-Posada,...

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