Eligibility and Attorney Fee Awards Under Review

Courts accept cases dealing with Eligibility and Attorney Fee Awards

ELIGIBILITY AND ATTORNEY FEES UNDER REVIEW: The Florida Supreme Court is reviewing its position on the awarding of attorney fees in arbitration and the effect of the six-year eligibility provision on a litigant’s claims.

Barron Chase v. Moser was accepted for review by Florida’s top court last Spring (SAA 00-16). The decision in the Second DCA set aside an award of attorney fees by the trial court, because the Arbitrators in the subject Arbitration (NASD ID #96-02981) failed to disclose adequately the basis upon which they found liability. The decision, though, questioned the rationale under which the Florida courts have established a bifurcated structure for the award of attorney fees in arbitration. We understand from an attorney close to this case that the Court heard oral arguments in September.

Not unrelated is a second case recently approved for review by the Court. Corporate Securities v. Lind is a Fourth DCA decision that we summarized in the Securities Litigation Alert (SLA 2000-06). It, too, dealt with the general issue of arbitral authority and held that the courts, not the arbitrators, should decide questions relating to six-year eligibility under the SRO arbitration rules. Howard Tescher, Kipnis Tescher, Fort Lauderdale, FL, who represents CSG and from whom we have heard before on this matter (SLA 2000-17), now reports that the Court accepted jurisdiction “because of conflicts amongst the various appellate districts.”

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Nothing herein is intended as legal or financial advice. The law is different in different jurisdictions, and the facts of a particular matter can change the application of the law. Please consult an attorney or your financial advisor before acting upon the information contained in this article.

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