Chapter 30 Award of Attorney's Fees and Enforcement of Judgements

Chapter 30 "Award of Attorney's Fees and Enforcement of Judgments"

Reprinted with permission from Chapter 30 "AWARD OF ATTORNEY'S FEES AND ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS" by Pamela Beckham in Law and Practice of Insurance Coverage Litigation (West Group and ABA 2000)

Table of Sections 
30.1 Scope Note 

30.2 Establishing Entitlement to Attorney's Fees

30.3 Basis for Fee Claims

  1. Statutes

    1. Compensatory

    2. Punitive

    3. Applicability of More than One Statute

  2. Contractual Provisions for Fees

  3. Fees Recoverable Without Contract or Statute

30.4 Parties Entitled to Fees

  1. Insurers

  2. Insureds

  3. Third Party Beneficiaries

  4. Others

  5. Assignments of Fees

30.5 Prevailing Party

  1. Settlements

  2. Partial Recoveries

  3. Dismissals

  4. Judgments

  5. Appeals

    1. Affirmance

    2. Reversal

    3. Certiorari

    4. Mixed Decision

  6. Post Judgment Proceedings

  7. Arbitrations

30.6 Right to Fees Incurred to Recover Attorney's Fees

30.7 Right to Fees for Pre-Suit Work

30.8 Pleading Entitlement to Fees

30.9 Determination of Amount of Fees

30.10 Factors to Be Considered

  1. The Time and Labor Required, the Novelty, Complexity and Difficulty of the Questions Involved, and the Skill Requisite to Perform the Legal Service Properly

  2. The Likelihood, if Apparent to the Client, that the Acceptance of the Particular Employment will Preclude Other Employment by the Lawyer

  3. The Fee Customarily Charged in the Locality

  4. The Amount Involved and the Results Obtained

  5. The Time Limitations Imposed by the Client or by the Circumstances

  6. The Nature and Length of the Professional Relationship with the Client

  7. The Experience, Reputation, and Ability of the Lawyer or Lawyers Performing the Services

  8. Whether the Fee is Fixed or Contingent

30.11 Application of Contingency Risk Multiplier

30.12 Evaluation of Case

  1. Retainer Between Insured and Counsel

  2. Time Slips and Records of Counsel

30.13 Expert Testimony

30.14 Calculating Fees When Only a Portion of the Claim Involves Fees.

  1. Discrete Claims

  2. Combined Claims

30.15 Timeliness of Fee Request

30.16 Enforcement of Judgments Against Insurers

  1. Penalty for Delay or Failure to Satisfy Judgment

  2. Insolvency of Judgment Debtor Insurer

30.17 Forms

  1. Requests for Admissions

  2. Interrogatories 
    Requests for Production

§30.1 Scope Note 
This Chapter addresses entitlement to attorney's fees in insurance litigation and awarding a reasonable fee once entitlement has been determined. The Chapter focuses on awards of attorney's fees to insureds as statutory entitlement ordinarily operates in favor of insureds and not insurers. Enforcement of judgments against insurers is examined. This Chapter will also address insurers' insolvency as it affects collection and enforcement of judgments. As insurance is primarily regulated at the state level, each jurisdiction has its own unique laws which should be consulted.

"Lawyers are officers of the court. The court is an instrument of society for the administration of justice. Justice should be administered economically, efficiently, and expeditiously. The attorney's fee is, therefore, a very important factor in the administration of justice . . . ." 1

  1. Baruch v. Giblin, 122 Fla. 59, 164 So. 831 (1935).