February 14, 2024
Understanding Collection of Attorney’s Fees Under Florida Law

Navigating through the complexities of the legal system in Florida can be daunting, especially when it comes to understanding the intricacies of recovering attorney’s fees in a legal action. As a client engaged in active litigation or considering whether to initiate litigation against a party, you may be wondering whether you can recover your attorney’s fees in litigation. This article aims to provide you with a basic understanding of the basis and process for collecting attorney’s fees under Florida law.

It is important to note that Florida law permits the recovery of attorney’s fees in specific circumstances. Attorney’s fees are not provided in every case and are typically contingent upon either a contract or statute that authorizes such recovery.

Statutory Grounds

Florida law allows for the collection of attorney’s fees if cases are brought under certain statutes. Therefore, understanding the specific statutes that may apply in your case is essential when seeking recovery of attorney’s fees. Some common statutes authorizing recovery of attorney’s fees include:

• Certain consumer protection statutes, such as the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA), which provides for the recovery of attorney’s fees by prevailing plaintiffs and aims to discourage unfair business practices by ensuring consumers can seek legal redress.
Section 772.11, Florida Statutes, which provides a remedy for civil theft and allows for a party to recover threefold the actual damages plus reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
Section 83.48, Florida Statutes which allows a prevailing party in certain landlord-tenant disputes to recover reasonable attorney’s fees.
Section 57.105(7), Florida Statutes, which creates a contractual right to attorney’s fees and permits courts to award fees when provided for in a contract or when a party prevails in any actions with respect to that contract.

Contractual Grounds

The second basis for recovery of attorney’s fees would be a contractual provision authorizing the recovery of attorney’s fees. In contracts, there are often provisions allowing the prevailing party to recover attorney’s fees. As such, if your case involves a contract, you should review it carefully to determine whether it has an “attorneys fees provision” which would authorize you to recover your attorney’s fees at the end of the suit.

In addition to statutory and contractual bases for attorney’s fees, there are certain strategic steps a party can take to “set up” a right to recovery attorney’s fees in a case. By way of example, a party may serve an “Offer of Judgment” or “Proposal for Settlement” which is essentially an offer to settle the case for a certain amount. If the offer is rejected, the party making the offer may be entitled to recover their attorney’s fees depending on the outcome in the case.

Steps to Collecting Attorney’s Fees in Court

If there is an applicable statute or contract that supports your claim to collect attorney’s fees, the court must typically rule that you are the “prevailing party” before you can collect any attorney’s fees. In most cases, Florida courts award attorney’s fees to the party who succeeds on the “significant issues” in the case.

Therefore, if you are the prevailing party and the basis for recovery exists, your attorney will file a motion in court to claim these fees. This motion must lay out grounds to demonstrate that the attorney’s fees sought are reasonable and supported by records reflecting the attorney’s time and effort expended in the case. If the court finds that you are entitled to recovery of your attorney’s fees, it will grant the motion and order the losing party to pay your attorney’s fees.

Collecting attorney’s fees in Florida hinges on several considerations grounded in either statutory or contractual law. Additionally, there are other strategic steps a party can take in a case in order to set up his/her right to recover attorney’s fees. Understanding this process will help you during the litigation process, and if a right to collect attorney’s fees exists in your case, it may alleviate the financial burden that could arise with prolonged litigation. If you need assistance with your litigation matter, please contact Boatman Ricci at (239) 330-1494.

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THIS BLOG IS INTENDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. IT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. THE READER SHOULD CONSULT WITH KNOWLEDGEABLE LEGAL COUNSEL TO DETERMINE HOW APPLICABLE LAWS APPLY TO SPECIFIC FACTS AND SITUATIONS. BLOG POSTS ARE BASED ON THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION AT THE TIME THEY ARE WRITTEN. SINCE IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE LAWS OR OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES MAY HAVE CHANGED SINCE PUBLICATION, PLEASE CALL US TO DISCUSS ANY ACTION YOU MAY BE CONSIDERING AS A RESULT OF READING THIS BLOG.

Published: February 14, 2024
Author: Bo Boatman
Categories : Uncategorized