Application of Set-Off When Determining Prevailing Party for Purposes of Attorney’s Fees

Pencil resting on fee statement

In Hayward Baker, the subcontractor recovered a final judgment of $290,000 against the general contractor and payment bond surety.

February 22, 2021
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

The recent opinion from the Second District Court of Appeal in Hayward Baker, Inc. v. Westfield Ins. Co., 2020 WL 7767859 (2nd DCA 2020) demonstrates that the significant issues test for determining the prevailing party for purposes of attorney’s fees applies to disputes involving payment bonds under Florida’s Lien Law (Florida Statutes Chapter 713). The significant issues test is more or less a subjective test where the party that is deemed to have prevailed on the significant issues in the case is the prevailing party for purposes of attorney’s fees in the case. A trial court has discretion to determine the prevailing party which will not be disturbed absent an appellate court finding the trial court abused that discretion. This significant issues test is an important consideration so that parties understand just because money ends up going their way does not necessarily mean they prevailed on the significant issues in the case. It could mean that. But it may not based on the claims and moneys involved in the dispute.

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com



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