1-561-514-0900 FREE CONSULTATION

Civil Theft Florida

In the News • Aug 22, 2021
post about Civil Theft Florida

Triple damages, interest and attorneys fees. There is a LOT at stake in a civil theft Florida lawsuit. Read more about this topic and an August 18, 2021 opinion from a Florida appeals court that discusses entitlement to attorneys fees.

Civil theft Florida is a topic that experienced trial attorneys can work with.

Why Civil Theft?

Florida’s civil theft law permits a civil recovery of damages for certain crime victims. And also financial exploitation of the elderly. But be careful. There are only certain crimes that you can recover civil damages for.

Read Chapter 812 of the Florida Statutes. Those statutes deal with theft, robbery and crimes. There is an entire set of laws on getting civil remedies or damages against someone who commits a crime against you. You can read the Civil Theft Statute for free by clicking HERE. Civil theft laws do have special rules. For example, you can only get damages in a civil lawsuit for certain crimes. Read 812.012- 812.037 and 825.103(1).

For a free legal video on damages, and interest in Florida civil theft cases, CLICK HERE.

Civil Theft Florida in Trust and Estate Cases

Is it possible for a family member or beneficiary to sue a trustee or another wrongdoer for civil theft in an estate or trust? The answer is yes. Our appellate courts use the term defalcation when describing a trustee who improperly takes trust property. And estate executors in Florida probates have the same duties as a Florida trustee. But, experienced probate litigators caution, have your eyes wide open. “Proving civil theft is not as easy as everyone thinks” says probate litigator John Pankauski. “Sometimes there are other lawsuits you can file that are ‘ easier.’ “ He should know. Pankauski’s firm is a group of experienced probate and trust litigators who sue and defend executors and trustees all the time.

New Civil Theft Case

On August 18, 2021, the 4th District Court of Appeal issued an important opinion dealing with civil theft and attorneys fees. To read the opinion, click HERE. Below is a quick summary or bullet points on what you need to know. For an April 7, 2021 civil theft appellate opinion from the appeals court for Miami-Dade County, click HERE.

What You Need to Know

  • Attorneys fees and costs shall be awarded under 772.11(1) if you win– the statute uses the word “entitled”
  • A pre-suit demand is required
  • No punitive damages
  • The defendant gets attorneys fees and costs if the claim for civil theft was without substantial fact or legal support
  • After a court rules on entitlement to attorneys fees — WHO gets fees– there is a hearing on the amount of those fees
  • The civil theft statute, 772.11, must be strictly construed when it comes to awarding attorneys fees
  • You can get attorneys fees for litigating the ENTITLEMENT to fees, but not the amount of fees

In conclusion: if you are litigating attorneys fees, whether in a civil theft Florida case, or not, find an attorney who has had numerous disputed attorneys fee hearings.