River Bridge Corp. v. American Somax Ventures – Attorneys’ Fees

After the appeals court issued an opinion partially reversing an $8 million final judgement, the trial court was required to hold a new hearing on attorneys’ fees.  The trial court had entered a fee award while the appeal was pending.  After the appeals court partially reversed the underlying judgment, the trial court, without hearing, simply entered an order reaffirming the prior attorneys’ fee award.  The 4th DCA determined that the trial court should have held an additional hearing to determine the proper amount of fees in light of the partial reversal.

The 4th DCA’s reasoning was based on Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.540(b)(5), which provides for relief from a judgment where such judgment is based on a prior judgment that has been “reversed or otherwise vacated.”  The 4th DCA’s prior decisions have required an evidentiary hearing where a party sought to set aside judgment per Rule 1.540(b).  See Schuman v. Int’l Consumer Corp., 50 So.3d 75 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010).

River Bridge Corp. v. American Somax Ventures, 36 Fla. L. Wkly D2615 (4th DCA Nov. 30th, 2011).