Construction Lien Case Holding: Where both Parties Prevail on Significant Issues, Neither Party Recovers Appellate Attorney's Fees

By Karma Hall, Esq. 

In the decision of Bauer v. Ready Windows Sales & Services Corporation, Case No.: 3D16-1171 (Fla. 3d DCA June 21, 2017), Florida's Third District Court of Appeals was tasked with reviewing entitlement to appellate attorney's fees claimed by both parties, where both parties had filed competing motions seeking recovery of appellate attorney's fees pursuant to Rule 9.400 and section 713.29, each taking the position that they were the prevailing party after each having won on some issues but having lost on other issues.

Florida's Third District Court of Appeals denied the motions for appellate attorney's fees as to both parties. The 3rd DCA held while both parties prevailed on significant issues, neither party would recover appellate attorney's fees. Here, each party lost on their appeal, while each party successfully defended that part of the judgment in their favor on the other party’s cross-appeal.

As support for its finding, the appellate court cited the Florida Supreme Court's decision in Prosperi v. Code, Inc., 626 So. 2d 1360 (Fla. 1993), which set forth the "significant issues" test:
We acknowledge the supreme court's recent opinion in Moritz v. Hoyt Enterprises, Inc., 604 So. 2d 807 (Fla. 1992), in which it held that the test for determining who is the prevailing party for purposes of awarding attorney's fees in a contract action is 'to allow the trial judge to determine from the record which party has in fact prevailed on the significant issues tried before the court.'
Notably, this test provides the court with discretion "to consider the equities and determine which party has in fact prevailed on the significant issues." Prosperi at 1363. The "significant issues"  test was later applied in Trytek v. Gale Industries, Inc., 3 So. 3d 1194 (Fla. 2009), where the Florida Supreme Court held the Prosperi/ Moritz "significant issues" test is the appropriate test to determine the issue of "prevailing party."

After consideration and application of the "significant issues" test to the Bauer v. Ready Windows Sales & Services Corporation matter, Florida's 3rd DCA found that both parties prevailed on significant issues, resulting in a finding that appellate attorney's fees would not be awarded to either party.




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The Law Office of Karma Hall, PA provides legal services throughout Florida, main office in Miami.  Visit us online: www.karmahallpa.com email info@karmahallpa.com.


Comments

  1. judi sabung ayam
    Notably, this test provides the court with discretion "to consider the equities and determine which party has in fact prevailed on the significant issues."

    ReplyDelete

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