Appeals Court Issues Extraordinary Writ for Brannock Berman & Seider’s Client
In a rare feat, Brannock Berman & Seider helped convince the Sixth District Court of Appeal to grant a petition for writ of prohibition, preventing a Collier County trial court from entertaining a motion for attorney’s fees against the firm’s client.
The petition argued that the trial court exceeded its jurisdiction when it directed the client to reimburse his co-defendant for a portion of the appellate attorney’s fees incurred in an earlier appeal. In that appeal, no party moved for attorney’s fees, and the appellate court never entered any order on attorney’s fees. But when the case returned to the trial court on remand, the trial court ordered the client to reimburse the co-defendant for the fees spent on the appeal. The trial court also authorized a series of discovery requests related to attorney’s fees.
Along with its co-counsel from the Rocke McLean & Sbar law firm, Brannock Berman & Seider asked the Sixth District to block the discovery and to stop the trial-level proceedings on appellate attorney’s fees. Noting that appellate courts have exclusive jurisdiction to award appellate attorney’s fees, the Sixth District granted the petition. The Sixth District held that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to award appellate attorney’s fees because no one sought appellate fees in the appellate court.