FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
for Review of the Decision of the District Court of Appeal -
Certified Direct Conflict of Decisions First District - Case
No. 1D15-531 (Duval County)
Michael R. Yokan, Jacksonville, Florida; and Christopher W.
Wickersham, Jr. of Law Offices of C.W. Wickersham, Jr., P.A.,
Jacksonville, Florida, for Petitioner.
M. Johnson, Jr. of The Law Offices of Earl M. Johnson, Jr.,
LLC, Jacksonville, Florida, for Respondent.
case is before the Court for review of the decision of the
First District Court of Appeal in Hall v. Lopez, 213
So.3d 1003 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017), which certified direct
conflict with the Third District Court of Appeal's
decisions in Ratigan v. Stone, 947 So.2d 607 (Fla.
3d DCA 2007), and Cisneros v. Cisneros, 831 So.2d
257 (Fla. 3d DCA 2002), and with the Fifth District Court of
Appeal's decision in Dudley v. Schmidt, 963
So.2d 297 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007), regarding whether an award of
attorney's fees pursuant to section 57.105, Florida
Statutes (2013), is permissible in dating, repeat, and sexual
violence injunction proceedings under section 784.046,
Florida Statutes (2013). We have jurisdiction. See art.
V, § 3(b)(4), Fla. Const. For the reasons that follow,
we approve the First District's holding that section
57.105 does not prohibit awarding attorney's fees in a
section 784.046 action.
Lopez filed a petition for injunction for protection against
repeat and dating violence under section 784.046, Florida
Statutes, against Sean Hall, and received a temporary
injunction. After the circuit court extended the injunction
protection until further order, Hall moved for attorney's
fees and sanctions under section 57.105, Florida Statutes,
claiming that Lopez perjured herself in her petitions. Lopez
later voluntarily dismissed her action. The trial court then
denied Hall's motion for attorney's fees, holding
that section 784.046 contains no provisions authorizing an
award of section 57.105 attorney's fees on any basis.
Hall appealed, and the First District reversed the trial
court's ruling, holding that an award of section 57.105
attorney's fees is not prohibited in an action under
784.046 and certifying direct conflict with Ratigan,
Cisneros, and Dudley. Hall, 213
So.3d at 1007.
review questions of statutory interpretation de novo. See
Borden v. East-European Ins. Co., 921 So.2d 587, 591
(Fla. 2006). We first examine the statute's plain
meaning, resorting to rules of statutory construction only if
the statute's language is ambiguous. Holly v.
Auld, 450 So.2d 217, 219 (Fla. 1984).
57.105 provides the grounds and procedure for obtaining
attorney's fees against a party and its attorney for
bringing unsupported claims and defenses:
Upon the court's initiative or motion of any
party, the court shall award a reasonable attorney's
fee, including prejudgment interest, to be paid to the
prevailing party in equal amounts by the losing party and the
losing party's attorney on any claim or defense at
any time during a civil proceeding or action in which
the court finds that the losing party or the losing
party's attorney knew or should have known that
a claim or defense when initially presented to the court or
at any time before trial:
(a)Was not supported by the material facts necessary
to establish the ...