The Slow Death of Statutory Prevailing Party Fees in Florida and the Resurgence of the American Rule

20 Dec , 2021

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The Florida Supreme Court in October, 2021 sharply curtailed the ability of a defendant to recoup attorney’s fees and costs after successfully defending against a breach of contract claim. In a deceptively simple decision, the Court swept away years of caselaw that broadened the application of the Florida statute that makes prevailing party fees provisions reciprocal in contracts which contain one-sided prevailing party fees clauses. 

The decision encourages frivolous litigation and may mark the beginning of a resurgence of the American Rule—parties in litigation pay their own fees, no matter how lopsided the finances between them or meritless the litigation.

 

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