How do I defend a motion for attorney fees to be awarded?

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How do I defend a motion for attorney fees to be awarded?

We sued our previous landlord over an issue of security deposit refund. Since the amount was small ($1500) we used the FLLegal Advice Service through the court system instead of hiring an attorney; the landlord hired an attorney. They won the case on a technicality and now have brought a motion to be awarded attorney’s fees. How can we defend this as we feel their lawyer will have exaggerated fees in the motion that will be unreasonable? Our rental contract stated that reasonable attorney fees could be awarded if a suit was brought to court, but how to determine reasonable?

Asked on September 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is unfortunate that you lost your lawsuit where the agreement that you sued upon has an attorneys fee clause and where your landlord hired a lawyer to defend him in it.

In order to determine what are reasonable attorneys fees in every circumstance where such attorneys fees are an issue, you need to see complete copies of the billings by the attorney representing the prevailing party. In your case, you need to see what actual fees your landlord paid his or her attorney for the defense, the amount of fees charged and what legal work was actually done.

In some states courts have held that attorneys fees of $20,000 to deal with a small claim of $2,500 which was at issue were clearly excessive given the relationship of the $20,000 to the $2,500 claimed.

Good luck.


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