Frivolous Claims, Probate Litigation, and Florida Statute 57.105
An August 3, 2016 appeal out of the Fourth District Court of Appeal sheds some light on how to get sanctions against the other side for frivolous lawsuits. Have you heard of Florida Statute, section 57.105? This statute may be able to get you attorney’s fees in West Palm Beach probate. However, this case shows that it is not as easy as you may think.
This statute provides that you can seek sanctions when the other side makes you fight a frivolous claim.
Florida Statute 57.105 provides that you can seek sanctions when the other side makes you fight a frivolous claim. What is a frivolous claim? Probate litigators know that a frivolous claim is one that has no basis in fact or law.For example trying to probate an unsigned and unwitnessed will may constitute frivolous. However, what constitutes as frivolous is for the Palm Beach probate court to decide. This statute awards you attorney’s fees but not costs. Do you know the difference? Keep in mind this swings both ways and you could be on the hook for frivolous claims, as well.
A recent Fourth DCA guardianship appeal, St. Peter v. Osorio-Kohr, involves sanctions and frivolous lawsuits. Guardianship litigation is becoming more and more common in Delray Beach, West Palm Beach and surrounding cities. Here, the appellant requested attorney’s fees pursuant to section 57.105 after the trial court determined that the appellee did not have standing in the matter.The Fourth DCA affirmed the “trial court’s ruling denying the motion for attorney’s fees under section 57.105, Florida Statutes (2014), based on our conclusion that Khor’s removal position was not “frivolous” such that it was “completely without merit in law and cannot be supported by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.” To read the entire Fourth DCA guardianship appeal, click here.