Jaffe v. Jaffe

Jaffe v. Jaffe, 147 So.3d 578 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014), 2014 WL 4212741

This guardianship case dealt with, among other things, the award of attorney's fees and costs in a guardianship proceeding.  The trial court, using the criteria detailed in F.S. 744.108(2)(a)-(i), made a determination of a reasonable hourly attorney's fee and found it appropriate to reduce the attorney's fees to a specified amount, plus costs, which it found reasonable given the circumstances.  It reserved jurisdiction to tax the costs of the attorney's expert witness who testified on the issue of attorney's fees.

The Court found that the attorney had put on competent substantial evidence to justify her attorney's fees.  Not only did she present the testimony of an expert regarding the reasonableness of her fees, but she also presented her own sworn testimony regarding her hours and costs spent on the guardianship matter.  The Court found that the trial court's reduction in attorney's fees was not a result of any determination that the fees sought were unreasonable, and thus it would not defeat F.S. 744.108 to award the attorney fees and costs for her own attorney and expert witness.  Thus, the court properly reserved jurisdiction to determine the amount of the fees and costs incurred in order to determine the reasonableness and necessity of the attorney's fees awarded.

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