An individual or entity initiating an action in Florida can ask to recover its court costs if successful in that action. However, recovery of attorneys’ fees in Florida is more limited. In order to recover attorneys’ fees in a litigation in Florida, there has to be a statute or a contract in place that allows for their recovery. When hiring an attorney for any Florida legal services, ask your attorney about the potential of recovering attorneys’ fees and costs.
If the contract at issue does not have a provision detailing attorneys’ fees, then each party may be responsible for its own attorneys’ fees. If the contract has a provision detailing attorney’s fees, when the Court determines the prevailing party, then it may award attorneys’ fees if there is a contractual right to do so. In particular instances, both parties, however, could be named as prevailing parties. In order to establish the prevailing party, Florida courts generally rely on a test known as the “significant issues” test, which permits courts to examine more than just what each party received as an award during litigation. However, there may still be the option that no prevailing party will be awarded its attorney’s fees.
When drafting any contract or agreement, your Florida business lawyer or any other Florida attorney handling your transaction, should draft in such contract or agreement that the prevailing party to a litigation seeking to enforce said contract or agreement should be entitled to its attorneys’ fees. Another option is for the attorney to outline the fee stipulation excluding the expression “prevailing party.” Instead, the attorney may state that the party is allowed its attorneys’ fees if it is obliged to collect on the contract if the other party violates the terms of the contract. It may also be a good idea to make sure that the stipulation detailing the attorneys’ fees is general enough to warrant the party to obtain its attorneys’ fees for litigating.
In determining the amount of fees the prevailing party may be awarded, Courts look at a variety of factors to determine the reasonableness of the award. The prevailing party will likely have to attest to the amount of the fees to be granted, and the Court will make a determination. In many cases, the amount of attorneys’ fees in controversy becomes a deciding factor when seeking settlement.
Apfelbaum Law has Florida business attorneys who can assist you with your contractual matters and other Florida legal services that may affect your entitlement to attorneys’ fees. If you have questions related to contracts, agreements, attorneys’ fees, or any other Florida legal services in Port St. Lucie, Stuart, Vero Beach, or throughout Florida, please contact Apfelbaum Law for a consultation.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.