Monday, February 6, 2012

Florida Supreme Court Opinion on Attorney's Fees

Southeast Floating Docks v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co., 82 So. 3d 73 (Fla. 2012) held that F.S.§ 768.79 does not apply to cases that are governed by the substantive law of another jurisdiction because, being a fee-shifting statute, it modifies the American rule which requires each party to pay its own attorney’s fees.  By altering the common law, the statute creates a substantive right.  Thus, under conflict of law analysis, when the parties have agreed to be bound by the law of another jurisdiction, F.S.§ 768.79 does not apply.  The case disapproved of prior decisions from the Fourth and Fifth District Courts of Appeal.  

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