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Florida Second DCA finds that personal injury plaintiff’s ex-attorney was entitled to fees calculated on quantum meruit basis rather than contingency fee contract

On June 16, 2021, in Scherer v. Austin Roe Basquill, P.A., et al., No. 2D20-1116, the Florida Second DCA reversed a trial court ruling which had ordered a personal injury plaintiff to pay his former attorney’s charging lien based on the fees stipulated in their contingency fee contract. The Second DCA concluded that the law firm should have been awarded fees pursuant to a modified quantum meruit determination as set forth in Rosenberg v. Levin, 409 So. 2d 1016 (Fla.1982). The Second DCA found that when the plaintiff decided to end his representation by the law firm during the pre-suit period and engage a departing partner to continue in representing him under a new contract, the contingency effectively occurred during the pendency of the second contract, foreclosing a recovery of fees under the contingency fee provisions of the first contract.