Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Can only damages be prior attorney's fees on these facts?

Jurisdiction is Florida. Only real damage is attorney's fees dakotalaw10/31/17
The answer to your question is probably found in determining jeffm10/31/17
Ok I was misleading above. My fault. I said took an action, dakotalaw10/31/17
Post the text of the statute (and if it will help, point out jeffm10/31/17
dakotalaw (Oct 31, 2017 - 3:25 pm)

Jurisdiction is Florida. Only real damage is attorney's fees after group took an action against private property owners that would force any reasonable property owner into hiring an attorney in defense. Now group has backed off because they were wrong the entire time. Importantly, the groups actions were wrong because they were violating a state statute that allows for attorney fee shifting to the prevailing party. While they eventually backed off, the negotiation process took six months and the complaint for permanent injunction had already been drafted. Can I sue for violation of state statute on behalf of the owners with the damages being basically the money my clients have already paid me?

This just seems wrong but I'm not aware of any case on point, and my clients were absolutely wronged and forced into hiring an attorney. In this type of case, it was reasonably foreseeable that my clients would retain counsel and spend money, but obviously that wouldn't in and of itself allow for the suit, and I suppose this isn't even relevant. Here there was a statute that would have allowed for the fees had I actually filed the complaint, because then we would have been the prevailing party.

Are we still the prevailing party or did I screw up by not filing the complaint?

Edit: to be clear, no lawsuit was ever filed by either side.

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jeffm (Oct 31, 2017 - 4:07 pm)

The answer to your question is probably found in determining whether your claim is considered a "compulsory counter-claim" under Florida law. Permissive counter-claims *may* be plead. Compulsory counter-claims *must* be plead, or they are waived.

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dakotalaw (Oct 31, 2017 - 4:19 pm)

Ok I was misleading above. My fault. I said took an action, but nothing legal was filed.

A group with in house counsel began threatening a massive assessment, and in doing so they violated Florida law. No law suit was initiated by either party. Had they filed suit we would get the fees as the prevailing party because they would have withdrawn their complaint/petition, but again nothing was filed.

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jeffm (Oct 31, 2017 - 4:24 pm)

Post the text of the statute (and if it will help, point out what was violated to warrant attorney's fees to the prevailing party).

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