final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit,
Broward County; John B. Bowman, Judge; L.T. Case No.
Michael R. Bass of Michael R. Bass, P.A., Fort Lauderdale,
appearance for appellees.
Bridge 5 Association, Inc. ("the Association")
appeals the final judgment awarding attorney's fees and
costs in its favor, contending the award was for a lower
amount than supported by the evidence. We agree with the
Association's argument as to the award of attorney's
fees, due to an inconsistency in the final judgment. However,
due to the lack of a transcript of the hearing, we disagree
with its argument as to the award of costs. Thus, we affirm
in part, reverse in part, and remand with instructions.
case began with the Association filing a complaint against
four tenants seeking injunctive relief. A clerk's default
was entered against all four tenants, followed by a default
final judgment. Thereafter, the Association moved for
attorney's fees and costs against the four tenants,
attaching to the motion an affidavit of fees and costs
reflecting an hourly attorney's fee rate charge of $195
per hour and 31.7 hours of total hours expended and
anticipated to be expended to complete the matter, amounting
to a total of $6, 181.50 in attorney's fees. In addition,
the Association sought $1, 056.63 in costs. The Association
also filed an affidavit of another attorney attesting to the
reasonableness of the hourly rate and the hours claimed.
the trial court issued its final judgment awarding the
Association attorney's fees and costs as to the four
defaulted parties. Although the trial court's findings as
to the reasonableness and amount of attorney's fees (31.7
hours at an hourly rate of $195.00) and costs were typed in
the final judgment, the total amounts of fees and costs to be
awarded were crossed out, with different amounts written over
them by hand ($1500 for fees, instead of $6, 181.50; $443.93
for costs, instead of $1, 056.63). Similarly, the typed
amount of the total judgment was also crossed out and
corrected by hand with initials ($1500 for fees, instead of
$6, 181.50; $443.93 for costs, instead of $1, 056.63; $1,
943.93 for total judgment, instead of $7, 238.13).
Association filed a motion for rehearing, arguing that the
final judgment reflected that the trial court made a finding
that 31.7 hours was a reasonable number of hours spent on the
case and that the hourly rate of $195 per hour for counsel
was reasonable, but that the trial court's award of only
$1, 500.00 in fees was inconsistent with those findings. In
its motion, the Association argued that nothing had been
presented at the hearing contesting the amount of time
expended or the hourly rate charged and that the trial court
had not expressed why it was only awarding $1, 500.00. The
Association also argued that the trial court's award of
costs of only $443.93 failed to include other reasonable and
necessary costs. The trial court denied the motion for
Association gave notice of appeal.
award of attorney's fees is a matter committed to sound
judicial discretion which will not be disturbed on appeal,
absent a showing of clear abuse of discretion."
DiStefano Constr., Inc. v. Fidelity & Deposit Co. of
Md., 597 So.2d 248, 250 (Fla. 1992). It is well settled
that "[a]n award of attorney's fees must be
supported by substantial competent evidence and contain
express findings regarding the number of hours reasonably
expended and a reasonable hourly rate for the type of
litigation involved." Nagl v. Navarro, 187
So.3d 359, 361 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016) (quoting Diwakar v.
Montecito Palm Beach Condo. Ass'n, 143 So.3d 958,
960 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)).
appeal, the Association argues that the face of the final
judgment reflects an error committed by the trial court, in
that the findings are inconsistent with the amount of
attorney's fees awarded. Specifically, the Association
points out that the final judgment indicates that the trial
court found that 31.7 hours of attorney's time was
reasonably expended and that an hourly rate of $195.00 for
the Association's attorney was reasonable. Given the
predicate findings, the amount of attorney's fees awarded
should have amounted to $6, 181.50 (31.7 hours x $195.00 =
$6, 181.50). However, as ...