In This Issue:
Florida High Court Considers Validity of Rules Prohibiting Settlement Agreements Restricting Lawyer’s Right to PracticeThe Florida Bar v. St. Louis, ___ So.2d ___, 2007 WL 1285836, 32 Fla. L. Weekly S191 (4th DCA 2007)In a recent attorney discipline case, the Florida Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of Fla. R. Prof. Conduct 4-5.6(b), as well as several other rules of misconduct. Rule 4-5.6(b) provides that a lawyer shall not participate in offering or making an agreement in which a restriction on his or her right to practice is part of the settlement of a client controversy.
When Does a Discharged Attorney Receive Fees Based on Quantum Meruit?Jay v. Trazenfeld, 952 So.2d 635 (4th DCA 2007)Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals recently addressed a dispute over fees between two lawyers who had agreed to handle a legal malpractice case as co-counsel. The case involved Jay and Trazenfeld, two attorneys who worked for different firms. They were retained by a single client to represent the client in a legal malpractice action against the client’s former attorney in a tort action, in which Jay had also been involved. The retainer agreement, in relevant part, merely stated that “[a]s compensation for the services rendered by our attorneys, they will be paid from the gross proceeds of any money collected . . . .,” and did not define each attorney’s separate responsibilities or share of any fees resulting from their representation. During the two attorneys’ joint representation, the client made a claim for legal malpractice against Jay, which resulted in the client’s termination of Jay from further representation. That claim was later dismissed.
Proposal for Settlement Must Cite Fla. Stat. § 768.79 to Be ValidCampbell v. Goldman, ___ So.2d ___, 2007 WL 1703503, 32 Fla. L. Weekly S320 (Fla. 2007)The Florida Supreme Court has held in a recent case on appeal from the Fourth District Court of Appeals that a proposal for settlement is invalid if it does not cite Fla. Stat. § 768.79, even if it cites Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.442. The Supreme Court quashed a judgment of the Fourth District, which in its opinion agreed with a Fifth District Court of Appeals holding that the failure of a proposal to cite Section 768.79 was an insignificant technical violation of Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.442. The Supreme Court observed that Rule 1.442 requires an offer of judgment to identify the applicable Florida law under which it is being made, while Fla. Stat. § 768.79 requires that the offer “state that it is being made pursuant to this section.”