Prevailing Party Entitled to Recover Attorneys’ Fees Paid by Third Party – Rogers v. Vulcan Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Following a suit for breach of contract, the prevailing party moved to recover attorneys’ fees pursuant to the terms of the contract, which provided:

(c) In any action to enforce any term, condition, or provision of this agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover the reasonable attorney’s fee incurred to enforce same.

The trial court denied the award of fees because it found that the entirety of the prevailing party’s attorneys’ fees were paid by a third party.  According to the trial court, this meant that the prevailing party had no fees to recover.  The 1st DCA reversed finding that the plain intent of the agreement was that the “loser pays, and the winner does not.”  According to the 1st DCA, denying the award of attorneys’ fees because the prevailing party had to have a third party cover his fees would result in an inequitable windfall for the losing party.  As such, the prevailing party was entitled to recover attorneys’ fees paid by the third party.

Rogers v. Vulcan Manuf. Co., Inc., Case No. 1D11-3927 (Fla. 1st DCA June 1, 2012).