Landlord, INVERARRY RENTALS, LLC, filed an eviction without using an attorney. Legal Aid of Broward County filed an answer, motion to dismiss and motion to determine rent. At this point landlord should have retained counsel but did not. The judge set the case for mediation. In my experience, Legal Aid of Broward County is reasonable, and if the landlord had settled in mediation, it could have avoided having to pay the tenant’s attorney’s fees and costs. Nevertheless, the landlord refused to settle and the case went to trial. The tenant won the trial and the court awarded tenant’s attorney’s fees at the rate of $400.00 per hour and expert witness fees also at $400.00 per hour, totaling $3,959.00. Landlord did not pay this, so tenant proceeded to garnish the judgment from Landlord’s bank account. As the landlord-tenant statute awards attorneys fees to the prevailing party, if that isn’t going to be you, you need to turn off the billing clock and settle the case as soon as possible.
INVERARRY RENTALS, LLC, v. HERMENE BELIZAIRE, County Court, 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County. Case No. COWE-14-3349. September 4, 2014. Ellen Feld, Judge. Counsel: Patrice Paldino, Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Inc., Defendant. 22 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 389b