The Florida Supreme Court is considering whether a statute used to calculate attorneys’ fees in Florida eminent domain cases is unconstitutional when applied in the event of excessive litigation by the condemning authority. The condemnor in that case is the Central Florida Expressway Authority and the jury returned a verdict valuing the property at more than $5.7 million. The court found that the counsel for the property owners obtained a benefit of $832,000 for their clients after considering the difference between the original offer and the verdict. The Florida fee award statute mandated a fee award of close to $228,000 and the attorneys also were to receive nearly $118,000 pursuant to their contract with the owners.
The property owners argued the statutory fee was unconstitutionally low due the number of hours expended to respond to allegedly excessive litigation by the Expressway Authority. The case is Joseph B. Doerr Trust et al. v. Central Florida Expressway Authority et al., case number SC14-1007, in the Supreme Court of Florida.