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Unformatted text preview: een any such testimony, as Judge Schwartz suggests in a footnote to Gonzalez v.
Veloso, 731 So. 2d 63 (Fla. 3d DCA 1999):
Quarere: Whether any such showing can ever be made, and thus whether a multiplier is
ever appropriate, when fees are awardable only when a reasonable offer is not accepted
under § 768.79, an [*162] eventuality which obviously cannot be anticipated when
counsel is obtained.
Gonzales at 64, n.2.
Gauldin retained his counsel before any promise of either a multiplier or a fee in excess
of that which the ethical rules normally allow. The idea of the use of the multiplier was
born in this case [**9] only after Strahan rejected a settlement offer of $ 50,000. The
multiplier provides an incentive to a lawyer to represent a client in a case in which few
lawyers would venture. The potential use of a multiplier in calculating a fee aids an
injured person having a tenuous case to secure competent counsel and improves access to
our system of justice. The United States Supreme Court has cautioned, however, that the
use of a multiplier can also have the negative social cost of encouraging claimants with
non-meritorious claims. City of Burlington v. Dague, 505 U.S. 557, 563, 120 L. Ed. 2d
449, 112 S. Ct. 2638 (1992). We conclude that the multiplier was improperly applied in
this case where there was an absence of any evidence indicating that a premium was
necessary to obtain competent counsel. 10 In summary, we affirm the judgment for damages but vacate the award of attorney's fees.
We remand to the trial court for the calculation and award of a reasonable attorney's fees
without the use of a multiplier.
AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART; REMANDED.
SHARP, W., and HARRIS, JJ., concur. 11 12 Case # 3 KFC NATIONAL MANAGEMENT COMPANY v. TERENA KFC NATIONAL MANAGEMENT COMPANY, ETC. Appellant, v. TERENA
CASE NO. 98-2664
COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, FIFTH DISTRICT
739 So. 2d 630; 1999 Fla. App. LEXIS 8524; 15 BNA IER CAS 467; 24 Fla. Law W. D
June 25, 1999, Opinion...
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- Spring '08