Appellate Case Law Update – Trial Court Must Make Specific Findings If It Awards A Contingency Fee Multiplier

March 12, 2018 by on News

The Second DCA recently issued an opinion concerning contingent fee multipliers. “In setting reasonable attorneys’ fees, Florida courts use the federal lodestar approach which requires a determination of the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate. Once the lodestar amount is determined, the trial court may add or subtract from that amount based upon a ‘contingency risk’ factor and the ‘results obtained.’” Citizens Property Ins. Corp. v. Anderson, Case No. 2D16-616.  One factor the court must consider is “whether the relevant market requires a contingency fee multiplier to obtain competent counsel.”

In this case, the trial court found a 1.7 contingent fee multiplier was appropriate, but the order failed to include specific findings supporting the application of the multiplier. Furthermore, the attorney’s fees hearing was not transcribed. The Second DCA held that a trial court must include specific findings on an enhancement factor (either in writing through the order or orally on the record) to uphold a contingent fee multiplier award.

If you have any questions as to contingency fee multipliers or would like to refer an appellate case, please contact our appellate attorneys. 

Kansas R. Gooden
Partner / Practice Group Leader
Direct: 904.493.3755

Kevin D. Franz
Senior Associate
Direct: 954.622.0093

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