Friday, August 7, 2009

Prejudgment Interest On Attorneys Fees...

In McCarthy v. Estate of Robert Frederick Krohn (4D08-1742), the Fourth District considered and held the following:

We consider challenges to the circuit court’s rulings on prejudgment interest on attorney’s fees and costs established in a charging lien proceeding arising from the claim of a law firm discharged by the client in a personal injury action. We hold that prejudgment interest runs from the date the client received the proceeds of settlement, a time fixed by the contract between the client and the law firm.


Where a law firm obtains a quantum meruit recovery after being discharged in a contingent fee case, the firm is entitled to prejudgment interest on the award set by the court. See Quality Engineered, 670 So. 2d at 931; Arabia v. Siedlecki, 789 So. 2d 380, 384 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001). “[I]nterest accrues from the date the entitlement to attorney fees is fixed through agreement, arbitration award, or court determination. . . .” Quality Engineered, 670 So. 2d at 933. Here, the underlying fee agreement made entitlement to attorney’s fees contingent on the “proceeds of recovery.” Thus the firm is entitled to prejudgment interest on the attorney’s fee award from the date McCarthy received the proceeds of settlement.


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