In Point East Four Condominium Corporation, Inc., ____ So.3d ____ (Fla. 4th DCA 2010), a public adjuster sued his client for payment of its 10% contingency fee. The client defended by showing that there had been no recovery and therefore no fee was due. The trial court dismissed the case.
The contract between the PA and the client stated "the prevailing party in any action shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees." The client moved for fees, and the trial court denied the request.
The 4th DCA reversed and ordered the trial court to award the client attorneys fees against the public adjuster. According to the 4th DCA:
Courts have no discretion to decline to enforce this kind of contractual attorneys fees…. When one party loses in an action for breach of contract, the adverse party is the prevailing party. The public adjuster’s suit for a fee under the contract was manifestly ‘any action’ as that term was used in the attorneys fee provision of the contract. The trial judge had no choice but to grant the motion for fees and proceed to fix the amount of a reasonable fee.