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Attorneys Fees in Florida and The Offer of Judgment Statute F.S. 768.79

Uncategorized Sep 1, 2013

In Florida, parties to litigation may be responsible for paying the other side’s attorneys fees.  In the context of attorneys fees in Florida, Florida has so called “fee shifting” statutes.  Florida statute 768.79 says, among other things “…. If a plaintiff files a demand for judgment which is not accepted by the defendant within 30 days and the plaintiff recovers a judgment in an amount at least 25 percent greater than the offer, she or he shall be entitled to recover reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred from the date of the filing of the demand…..” Does this Florida fee shifting statute apply to everyone and every case?  No. Plaintiffs need to be mindful of who they are suing, including whether the defendant has governmental immunity or whether or not any judgment (after trial) can be reduced or not–or whether a “judgment” is even “recovered.”   Even winning may not entitle you to attorneys fees if the “offer” and the “judgment” don’t comply with the statute, and as courts have interpreted the statute.  See UCF Athletics Assoc., v. Plancher, as Personal Representative, an August 16th ruling from Florida’s 5th District Court of Appeal.  See also Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442. Advocate hard. Litigate smart.