Paula L. Quigley, Appellant,
William W. Culbertson, Appellee.
final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 13-7073, George A. Sarduy, Judge.
Attorneys at Law, P.A., and Oscar A. Gomez, for appellant.
A. Rodriguez; Ross & Girten, and Lauri Waldman Ross and
Theresa L. Girten, for appellee.
SALTER, LOGUE and HENDON, JJ.
former wife, Ms. Quigley, appeals a final order awarding her
former husband, Mr. Culbertson, a substantial award for
attorney's fees and costs incurred over a two and
one-half year period (February 2016 through August 2018). The
attorney's fees and costs were incurred in connection
with numerous post-judgment claims and motions.
parties entered into a mediated marital settlement agreement
("MSA") in May 2014, which was adopted and ratified
in a final judgment dissolving the marriage. The MSA
expressly provided that its terms would survive the final
judgment of dissolution. In that final judgment, the trial
court reserved jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the MSA.
Paragraph 26 of the MSA included a "defaulting
party" provision for fee-shifting in post-judgment
trial court conducted a thorough hearing on the former
husband's motion for fees and costs and signed an order
detailing the evidence supporting the award. The crux of the
former wife's appeal involves the trial court's use
of the term "frivolous and vexatious litigation" in
describing the former wife's many post-judgment motions
and claims, none of which were successful. The former wife
contends that the trial court attempted to invoke its
"inherent authority" to award fees as a sanction,
and that the resulting order lacked findings to support such
former husband's motion for attorney's fees and costs
was expressly grounded upon section 61.16, Florida Statutes
(2018) and the factors enunciated in Rosen v. Rosen,
696 So.2d 697 (Fla. 1997). The requirements for an award of
attorney's fees and costs under those authorities include
the financial resources of the parties as well as a
consideration of the merits of the parties' positions.
See Rosen, 696 So.2d at 699-700.
record evidence of the parties' financial resources
included financial affidavits, business checking account
statements for the former wife's business, the former
wife's portfolio account statements, and the former
wife's retirement savings statement. The record also
contains evidence regarding the former husband's income
and assets, as the former wife and her counsel had thoroughly
investigated whether the former husband had any interest in
patents, whether his University of Miami salary had
materially increased since the MSA, and whether the husband
had included certain stock options in his prior disclosure.
review the trial court's assessment of the evidence and
ruling on the motion for attorney's fees under the abuse
of discretion standard. Spano v. Bruce, 62 So.3d 2,
6 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011). The fee award must be supported by
competent, substantial evidence, and it was in this case.
See Viscito v. Viscito, 225 So.3d 959, 962 (Fla. 3d
fact that one or more of the former wife's claims were
termed "frivolous" or "vexatious" in the
final order does not transform it into an order awarding
statutory or common law sanctions. Under Rosen, the
trial court may consider the merits of the parties'
positions as a pertinent aspect of the decision to award a
these reasons, the order on the former husband's motion
for attorney's fees and ...