Monthly Archives: November 2012

Attorneys’ Fees – Demand Them or They are Waived, Maybe.

By Christopher M. Cobb, Esquire

One very important question that is asked by many litigants is, “Can I recover my attorneys’ fees for this case”. The American Rule on attorneys’ fees is generally that each litigant or party is responsible for payment of his/her/its own attorney’s fees. The entitlement to recovery of attorneys’ fees generally hinges on whether there is a contract that allows a prevailing party to recover fees or whether a statute authorizes the prevailing party to recover fees. So for my client’s, there is hope if they have a properly written contract or a statutory claim (i.e., construction lien, restrictive covenant, trade secret, or condominium lien) which authorized such fee recovery. Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Business Litigation Blog Practice Areas:

How are property taxes in Florida calculated and how can I challenge or appeal property tax assessments?

Every August Florida Property Appraisers will send out their TRIM notices, or Notice of Proposed Property Taxes, advising all tax payers of the proposed assessment on their properties. It is crucial for land owners to critically review this Notice and determine whether the assessment is fair and accurate, as the mailing of the notice commences a very short window in which a tax appeal must be filed. Very often these Notices are inflated to require payment of more taxes than should be assessed.

The county assessed value of your real estate should equal what the property would easily sell for in an arms-length transaction between a willing buyer and seller (Market Value). As often occurs, the true number that the local real estate market will bear is a lower number than what the county property appraisers value lists because properties are not impervious to natural variables that diminish value. If the property has been affected by a diminution in value caused by declining prices and market conditions, detrimental conditions (i.e. cracked slab, landslide, construction defects, condemnation, environmental problems), or other causes, the property owner should consider filing an appeal. Property tax appeals can be filed on any real estate including a home, ranch, vacant land, apartment building, commercial, industrial, or special use property.

Property owners are often shocked when receiving annual notices attempting to re-valuate their property because their property tax values often rise dramatically from a previous valuation (increases in value by 40% or more are not uncommon in some jurisdictions). This Blog post will attempt to answer two common questions we are often asked by Florida land owners: “How does the property tax process work and What can I do if I think my property has been over-valued by the tax man?” Read Full Post

CATEGORY: Florida Business Litigation Blog Practice Areas:

Failing to Disclose Information During Discovery Can Cause the Rescission of a Settlement Agreement

By: Charles B. Jimerson, Esq. and Rachel A. Heidenberg, J.D. May 2013

As a case develops, parties exchange information through a process known as discovery. Discovery is a truth seeking device- each party is able to discover facts that the other party has. Parties and their attorneys are expected to comply with requests for discovery.

Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal recently found in Garvin v. Tidwell that the appellee, Tidwell, violated her discovery obligations by failing to disclose an advertisement that featured her horse. No. 4D11-2712, 2012 WL 523224 at *3 (Fla. 4th DCA Oct. 24, 2012). The court allowed the appellant, Garvin, to rescind the settlement agreement because Garvin was not aware of all of the material facts because of Tidwell’s failure to disclose information during discovery. Id. at *5. Let this case serve as a lesson to any lawyer or party considering executing a settlement agreement if you have been less than truthful or forthcoming in the discovery process.
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The Availability of Civil Theft as a Recovery Tool for Professional Service Providers in Florida

By: Charles B. Jimerson, Esq. and Kristen T. Eshleman, Esq.

Just as we can’t see the air we breathe or radio waves transmitting data around the world, neither can we see thoughts and ideas. For those Professionals whose work product may not be a tangible, fungible item, it nonetheless exists. This is a crucial point when the intangible labor of a Professional is stolen. Florida Statute §772.11 provides a civil remedy as theft of Professional Services by defining such as “property.”

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CATEGORY: Florida Business Litigation Blog Practice Areas: ,

Defaults and Damages: Where Do Attorney’s Fees Fit In?

By: Kelly A. Karstaedt, Esq. and Kristen Sinnott, J.D. 2013

I recently came across a piece of information that I had never heard before in my last four years of litigating creditor’s rights cases. I have been advised that attorneys’ fees can never be granted on a Motion for Final Judgment after Default. Who knew? I have had hundreds of default judgments entered, nearly all of which included attorneys’ fees, without once being told that this practice was incorrect. So is it really incorrect? Read Full Post

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