Our firm represents many in the construction industry involved various construction disputes ranging from liens, bonds, defects, breaches of contract, and many others. There are times when a case needs to be resolved through the court system and as Bradenton construction lawyers, we understand how expensive the litigation process can be. One of the expenses you’ll incur as a result of litigation are attorney fees. The question is, who’s liable for these fees and can they be recovered?
The American Rule
In Florida, the American Rule is followed which states that in order for attorneys’ fees to be recovered, it must be written in the original contract between the litigants. However, if no such provision is written in the contract, each party is responsible for their own fees. A great place to start to get a better understanding of the laws that regulate the recovery of attorney fees can be found in Statute 57:105.
The Importance of the Contract
When looking at the American Rule, it’s easy to see why a contract is important. The courts will enforce a valid contract with appropriate provisions written therein before applying the rule. Keep in mind that there are always, exceptions to any rule. An attorneys’ fees provision provides the opportunity for the prevailing party to collect attorneys’ fees from the non-prevailing party. The provision can also be used as a settlement tool to avoid a litigation altogether especially if a party is certain they’d be the prevailing party if the case were to escalate to litigation.
Drafting a clear and unambiguous contract will lessen the likelihood of incorrect interpretation and a less than favorable ruling on the part of a judge. Make sure the contract specifically states the causes of action and types of attorneys’ fees that can be recovered. The drafting of a legally binding document requires skill and a thorough understanding of contract law in which an expert Bradenton construction lawyer is equipped to do. With the help of an attorney, you position yourself for success instead of incurring unexpected and absorbent legal fees that could be avoided with a properly written contract.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.