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Veloso 731 so 2d 63 fla 3d dca 1999 quarere whether

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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 BEAUREGARD, Appellee. 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 1493 June 25, 1999, Opinion...
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