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Fees Are Not Always Recovered in Litigation

Fees Are Not Always Recovered in Litigation

Q: If I prevail in a lawsuit, can I recover my attorneys’ fees?

A: Not always. In order to recover attorneys’ fees, there must be either a contract or statute that provides for recovery of attorneys’ fees. If there is no contractual provision or statute related to your cause of action that provides for prevailing party fees, Florida’s Offer of Judgment Statute is another mechanism that can create an entitlement to fees. Under Florida’s Offer of Judgment Statute, if a plaintiff files a demand for judgment for a particular amount which the defendant does not accept within 30 days and the plaintiff ultimately beats that offer by obtaining a judgment for 25% more than the demand, the plaintiff will recover reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred from the date he or she filed the demand. Similarly, if a defendant’s offer is not accepted by the plaintiff within 30 days and the plaintiff does not recover 75% or more than the amount in the defendant’s offer, the court will set off the defendant’s attorneys’ fees and costs against the plaintiff’s award. If the defendant is not found to be liable, then a judgment would be entered in defendant’s favor for the defendant’s attorneys’ fees and costs.



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