September 20, 2017
Appellate attorney Jonathan Mann of Bresky Law recently served as an expert attorney’s fee witness on behalf of homeowners who prevailed in an appeal brought by their homeowner’s association (“HOA”).
The homeowners prevailed at the county court level after a particularly long and drawn-out legal dispute regarding assessments. The homeowners also obtained a final judgment awarding them attorney’s fees pursuant to section 720.305(1), Florida Statutes. The HOA appealed the award of attorney’s fees to the circuit court sitting in its appellate capacity, raising several issues that it claimed required reversal. The homeowners’ attorney was forced to file two answer briefs due to procedural irregularities that occurred in the HOA’s handling of the appeal. The circuit court eventually affirmed the county court’s order awarding attorney’s fees, and also granted the homeowners entitlement to their attorney’s fees incurred in the appeal.
Pursuant to the circuit court’s order, the homeowners’ attorney filed a motion in the county court seeking to recover their attorney’s fees incurred on appeal. The county court set a hearing and directed the parties to perform specific requirements in preparation for the hearing. Jonathan Mann, a board certified appellate specialist, served as the expert fee witness on behalf of the homeowners. Mann performed a thorough review of the billing entries by the homeowners’ attorney for the appeal. Mann then prepared a detailed affidavit setting forth his opinion as to the homeowners’ reasonable attorney’s fees, and conferred with the HOA’s expert fee witness as directed in the county court’s order. The parties were ultimately able to reach a settlement of the attorney’s fee issue prior to the hearing.
A prevailing party to litigation may be entitled to recover attorney’s fees from the other party, generally where authorized by a contract or statute. However, the parties often do not agree on the amount of the attorney’s fees, so litigation regarding a reasonable amount of attorney’s fees is common. In addition to its own extensive appellate practice, Bresky Law makes the experience of its lawyers available to assist other practitioners by serving in the capacity of expert fee witnesses in disputes regarding appellate attorney’s fees.