Sunday, April 18, 2010

Contingency Fee Contract Does Not Trump Homestead Protection - Regardless of Whether Contingency Occurs

In Quiroga v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (3D08-2942), the Third District affirmed "an order denying [a] law firms motion to impress a charging lien on the homeowner’s insurance proceeds for damages caused by two hurricanes."  The court stated:
The parties do not dispute the hurricane-damaged property is constitutionally exempt homestead property....In the event a homestead is damaged through fire, wind or flood, the proceeds of any insurance recovery are imbued with the same privilege....Because Quiroga did not and, as a matter of public policy in this State, cannot through an unsecured agreement, such as the contingent fee agreement in this case, enter into an enforceable contract to divest himself from the exemptions afforded him through Article X, section 4(a), see Chames v. DeMayo, 972 So. 2d 850, 853 (Fla. 2007), this Court is compelled to affirm the order under review, the equities of the matter notwithstanding.


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