[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
from the Circuit Court for Orange County, Kevin B. Weiss,
Blackmore, of Phelan Hallinan Diamond & Jones, PLLC, Ft.
Lauderdale, for Appellant/Cross-Appellee.
Ghantous, of Ghantous & Branch, PLLC, Orlando, for
Appellee/Cross-Appellant, Jason Cross.
Appearance for Other Appellee/Cross-Appellant, Sherwood
Forest Homeowners Association of Orlando, Inc.
A.M., Associate Judge.
Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC, ("Bayview") appeals
the final judgment awarding contractual attorneys fees to
Jason Cross, which was entered after this court affirmed the
involuntary dismissal of Bayviews mortgage foreclosure
action against Cross. Bayview raises several issues on
appeal, and Cross filed a notice of cross-appeal seeking
reversal on two issues. After carefully considering each
issue raised by the parties, we affirm on all but two of the
issues without further discussion. However, for the reasons
explained below, we reverse the trial courts award of
attorneys fees incurred in litigating the amount of the
award and the trial courts denial of Crosss request for
"FEES FOR FEES"
Bayview argues that the trial court erred in awarding to
Cross attorneys fees for litigating the amount of attorneys
fees. "Typically, the appellate court applies an abuse
of discretion standard in reviewing a trial courts award of
attorneys fees, usually with regard to the amount of an
award rather than the actual entitlement to an award."
Hinkley v. Gould, Cooksey, Fennell, ONeill, Marine,
Carter & Hafner, P.A., 971 So.2d 955, 956 (Fla. 5th DCA
2007) (citing Distefano Constr., Inc. v. Fid. & Deposit
Co., 597 So.2d 248, 250 (Fla. 1992)). However, when
entitlement to attorneys fees is based on the interpretation
of contractual provisions or a statute, as a pure matter of
law, the appellate court undertakes a de novo review.
Id. Because the question of whether a trial court
may award attorneys fees for litigating the amount of those
fees is one of law, our standard of review is de novo.
See Aills v. Boemi, 29 So.3d 1105, 1108
(Fla. 2010) (citing Kirton v. Fields, 997 So.2d 349,
352 (Fla. 2008); DAngelo v. Fitzmaurice, 863 So.2d
311, 314 (Fla. 2003)).
general rule, attorneys fees incurred in litigating the
amount of attorneys fees to be awarded are not recoverable.
SeeN. Dade Church of God, Inc. v. JM Statewide,
Inc.,851 So.2d 194, 196 (Fla. 3d DCA 2003) (addressing
a contractual attorneys fees award in a mortgage foreclosure
action and holding that "[i]t is settled that in
litigating over attorney[s] fees, a litigant may claim fees
where entitlement is the issue, but may not claim attorneys
fees incurred in litigating the amount of attorneys
fees" (citing State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v.
Palma,629 So.2d 830, 832-33 (Fla. 1993))). However, in
finding that Cross was entitled to an award of attorneys
fees incurred in litigating the amount of his attorneys
fees, the trial court relied upon an exception to that
general rule that applies where an attorneys fees provision
in a contract is "broad enough to encompass fees
incurred in litigating the amount of fees." SeeTrial Practices, Inc. ...