Legalfeeguard

The LegalFeeGuard insurance program is an innovative solution to the serious risks faced by the client the Proposal for Settlement statute.

Trying to guess what the jury or judge will decide in your case is like trying to predict the stock market. You can think you have a "sure winner," only to be blindsided by a surprise verdict. In Florida, the stakes are even higher. Under Florida's unique Proposal for Settlement statute, even if you win your case, your client may still lose by being forced to pay the attorney's fees of the opposing party. That is why we have developed the LegalFeeGuard insurance program. It is an innovative solution to the serious risks faced by your client under the Proposal for Settlement statute, while at the same time providing a ready source of funds for indemnification from a top rated insurer.

[08/15/19]   Citizens issued a homeowner's insurance policy to the plaintiff. On October 24, 2005, Hurricane Wilma allegedly caused damage to the plaintiff's home. Although the plaintiff admitted to seeing some water leaking into his house during the hurricane, it was not until almost four years later, on June 12, 2009, that the plaintiff informed Citizens of the alleged damage to his home.

After receiving notice of the alleged damage to the plaintiff's home, Citizens contacted plaintiffs, and as allowed by the policy, requested he send them a "sworn proof of loss," containing certain information regarding the home and the alleged damage. Although the plaintiff later submitted some of the requested information to Citizens, he did not do so in a timely manner.

The plaintiff filed suit after Citizens denied his claim. After its initial motion for summary was denied, Citizens served the plaintiff with a proposal for settlement in the amount of $1000. The plaintiff rejected the proposal for settlement. Citizens then filed a second motion for summary judgment. The second motion for summary judgment was granted, and final summary judgment was entered in favor of Citizens because the notice of the claim was not promptly provided.

After its second motion for summary judgment was granted, Citizens filed a motion to determine its entitlement to attorney's fees pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442 and section 768.79, Florida Statutes (2013). The trial court determined that the settlement proposal offered by Citizens was not made in good faith, and thus denied Citizens' entitlement to recover attorney's fees. Citizens appeals this denial.

The Fourth District has consistently held that: The rule is that a minimal offer can be made in good faith if the evidence demonstrates that, the offeror had a reasonable basis to conclude that its exposure was nominal. In the instant case, there is enough evidence in the record to conclude that Citizens faced only nominal exposure, as the plaintiff did not first report the alleged damage to his home for nearly four years after the fact. Therefore, the Fourth District reversed the trial court's order denying Citizens' recovery of attorney's fees and remanded with instructions that the trial court enter an order granting attorney's fees to Citizens and determining the amount to be awarded.

[07/11/19]   Duplantis v Brock Specialty Services LTD

Plaintiff was injured when his vehicle was struck by a pickup truck driven by one of the defendant's drivers.

In November 2009, defendant tendered an offer to plaintiff for $300,000 to settle any and all claims against it, but conditioned the settlement on execution of a release in favor of all named defendants, as well as their affiliates. The case was tried before a jury which returned a verdict in plaintiffs favor of only $18,400, after apportionment of fault. Judgment was entered against the driver, and other defendants, jointly and severally, in that amount. Plaintiff was also awarded costs of $35,496.11. Each of the defendants then moved for an award of fees and costs based upon the earlier offer of judgment. The trial court granted the motion and awarded defendant attorney's fees of $80,816.16.

In appeal, plaintiff argued that the offer of judgment made by defendant was invalid because it was, in fact, a joint proposal that failed to state the amount and terms attributable to each defendant, as required by Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442. The appeals court agreed that plaintiffs was entitled to separate offers from each defendant, which would have permitted him to independently and intelligently assess and evaluate each offer.

legalfeeguard.com

LegalFeeGuard | Fee Shifting Insurance in Florida & Georgia.

Our clients often ask how much coverage should be purchased. Many assume incorrectly the amount of coverage should be the amount tendered in the PFS by the other party. However, LegalFeeGuard covers the estimated amount of opposing counsels fees, not the settlement amount offered in the PFS.

It is important to note that LegalFeeGuard is not just for attorneys fees. The policy covers other legal fees, such as expert witnesses and depositions from the opposing party.

legalfeeguard.com What will the jury decide? Trying to guess what the jury or judge will decide in your case is like trying to predict the stock market. You can think you have a sure winner, only to be blindsided by a surprise verdict.

legalfeeguard.com

LegalFeeGuard | Fee Shifting Insurance in Florida & Georgia.

We will be exhibiting during the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Georgia, June 6-9, 2019 at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, in Orlando, Florida. We will be exhibiting at booth #1.

Our display table will be open all day where you will have the opportunity to learn more about how LegalFeeGuard works, the advantages of the product, how to buy a policy, and more.

legalfeeguard.com What will the jury decide? Trying to guess what the jury or judge will decide in your case is like trying to predict the stock market. You can think you have a sure winner, only to be blindsided by a surprise verdict.

legalfeeguard.com

LegalFeeGuard | Fee Shifting Insurance in Florida & Georgia.

Some of the most common questions we get at LegalFeeGuard pertain to vicarious liability. Most of the time our policy form will cover one plaintiff or one defendant. The most common exception to that rule is when one or more parties are purely vicariously liable for another party. Below are recent vicarious liability cases were we covered plaintiffs against multiple defendants on the same policy. In all of these cases the defendants tendered a joint PFS to the Plaintiff.

1)Owner of a vehicle gives permissive use to operate the vehicle to a family member. Family member gets into an accident.

2) A physician committed malpractice in a hospital where the physician had privileges.

3) An attorney made a malpractice error while working for a law firm.

4) An employee of a trucking company gets into an auto accident while on the clock and driving the company vehicle.

If you have any questions on how our policy form will cover your exposure do not hesitate to contact us.

legalfeeguard.com What will the jury decide? Trying to guess what the jury or judge will decide in your case is like trying to predict the stock market. You can think you have a sure winner, only to be blindsided by a surprise verdict.

On January 4, 2019, the Florida Supreme Court resolved a conflict among the DCAs and held that Proposals for Settlement made pursuant to Section 768.79 need not comply with the email service provisions of the Florida Rule of Judical Administration 2.516. It was determined that a PFS is not a pleading, order or "document to be filed" with the court.

A PFS served by email is deemed valid even if it does not include a certificate of service and a subject line containing the words "Service of Court Documents" as 2.516 requires.

[01/28/19]   Over the past year, we have seen an increase in demand for ACH as a payment option for LegalFeeGuard. We are proud to adapt to meet the needs of our clients. Effective February 1, 2019 we will accept ACH payments.

There are now four ways to pay for a LegalFeeGuard policy:

Credit card payment online for an additional fee.

ACH payment online for no additonal fee.

Check via mail.

Funding the premium on a non-recourse basis through one of our litigation funding partners.

http://legalfeeguard.com/

Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442 states that "[n]o proposal [for settlement] shall be served less than 45 days before the date set for trial or the first day of the docket on which the case is set for trial, whichever is earlier." If the PFS is served less than 45 prior to start of the docket it is untimely, even if it is 45 days prior to the start of trial during that docket.

There is an exception to the bright-line rule. If the PFS is made at a point where it appears that it is not directed to the current trial period, but for an unscheduled trial period it is considered timely.

The plaintiff served separate proposals for settlement to each of two defendants. Neither defendant accepted the offer. After final judgment, the plaintiff filed a motion to recover attorney fees under FL Stat. 768.79. The trial court found the proposals to be clear and unambiguous.The 5th District Court of Appeals reversed the decision, concluding that the language was ambiguous because it stated it would resolve "all damages" claimed by the offeror. The 5th held that "all damages" rendered the PFS ambiguous because it might relate to one or both offerees.

The Supreme Court rejected the decision, concluding that plaintiff offers to settle his claims against the defendants was unambiguous. The Supreme Court instructs that the PFS should be read as whole. The Supreme Court concluded : "The intention of the parties must be determined from an examination of the entire contract and not from separate phrases or paragraphs.”
As a result, the entitlement to attorney's fees was granted. Any ambiguity in a proposal for settlement can potentially render it unenforceable.

Prior court approval is not needed to make a PFS valid against the representative of a minor plaintiff. Florida courts have never considered court approval a prerequisite to a valid settlement offer to a minor. Guardianship law does not require the guardian to obtain court appointment and approval before negotiating a settlement.

law.com

Offer-of-Settlement Insurance Aims to Protect Parties From Attorney Fee Awards | Daily Report

law.com The insurance product is being marketed as protection for litigants who may be hit with a fee award after turning down a settlement offer and for lawyers seeking to protect their contingency fees.

There are many reasons for defendants to consider purchasing Proposal for Settlement Insurance. Defendants that are self-insured stand to bear the costs of the plaintiff’s attorneys fees and costs that are shifted pursuant to the PFS statute entirely themselves. Many defendants have a large Self Insured Retention or a policy that may not provide coverage if attorney’s fees are shifted as the result of an adverse PFS.

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Proposal for Settlement Insurance

"I first learned about LegalFeeGuard protection about four years ago. It was right after one of my clients had just settled their case for less than full value, because they were concerned about the potential for an attorney's fee award. After that point I have recommended proposal for settlement insurance from LegalFeeGuard to all my clients as they proceed to trial." - Tim Moran

LegalFeeGuard is available for state cases and federal diversity cases applying Florida Law. State PFS law does not apply to federal question cases or federal cases applying the law of another state. See Southeast Floating Docks, Inc. v Auto-Owners 82 So.3d 73 (Fla. 2012)).

Rule 68 does not preempt section 768.79, Florida’s PFS law in diversity cases applying Florida law. Menchise v Akerman Senterfitt,(11th Cir. 2008).

A proposal may be made by or to any party or parties and by or to any combination of parties properly identified in the proposal. A joint proposal shall state the amount and terms attributable to each (FRCivP 1.442(C)(3).

Joint proposals can be submitted by parties who are solely vicariously liable. The proposal is invalid if it is conditioned on multiple offerees accepting. Each offeree must be able to independently accept or reject each offer without regard to what the other does.

While the cause of action is triggered by the spouse’s injury, a loss of consortium claim is separate and distinct. LegalFeeGuard can protect your client from a loss of consortium PFS. Consider purchasing a LegalFeeGuard policy to mitigate the risk.

Filing a claim with LegalFeeGuard is quick and easy. To file a claim, the insured must provide a completed Verdict Notification Form to the Insurer within ten (10) days of any verdict or judgment.

When submitting a claim it is important to have the following documents:

Original Complaint;
All Offers of Judgment;
Certificate of Service on each defendant;
Verdict;
Final Judgment;
Order on Motion to Assess Fees and Costs.

LegalFeeGuard is excited to announce a new partnership with Bayshore Funding Solutions. Effective immediately, Bayshore Funding Solutions can advance the cost of a LegalFeeGuard policy on a non-recourse basis. Plaintiffs no longer have to fear adverse fees due to lack of funds to pay for a LegalFeeGuard policy.

LegalFeeGuard is proud to announce our new price structure. Policies purchased after 30 days of the first PFS will now only cost 7.5% of the limit.

Please note a change in our price structure as follows:

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Proposal for Settlement Insurance

Many of Florida's top attorneys recommend LegalFeeGuard on every case. Never settle a case for less than full value again.

Dozens of Proposal for Settlement (PFS) offers are tendered every day throughout Florida. It is imperative that your clients understand the significant risks they face if they choose to reject or ignore a PFS.

An Orange County firm is now facing litigation for not advising their client about the availability of LegalFeeGuard. The complaint mentions "the Defendant was professionally negligent by failing to advise the Plaintiff about LegalFeeGuard."

Mitigate your malpractice exposure. Discuss LegalFeeGuard with every client.

http://legalfeeguard.com

"In my practice over the past 35 years, I knew there had to be a better way to deal with the Proposal for Settlement statute.I felt like cases were not being evaluated on their merits, collections pursuant to the statute were too difficult, and there was way too much additional litigation even after an award was made under the statute. I am very pleased how LegalFeeGuard solves all of these issues." -Rick Kolodinsky, Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer

LegalFeeGuard is proud to announce our new carrier partnership with StarStone Specialty Insurance. StarStone, through its subsidiaries, is a global specialty insurer providing a diversified range of property, casualty and specialty insurance to customers worldwide. With this transition, LegalFeeGuard is excited to now offer $200,000 and $250,000 coverage limits.

Please note a change in our pricing structure as follows:

Which limit should I buy?

The answer is based on the expected adverse legal fees and costs that could be assessed against your client if your trial doesn’t go well. This amount that could be shifted is dependent on your case: How complex is the case? Is the adverse lawyer an in-house lawyer that bills at a lower rate? Was the PFS served early in the litigation so that the legal fees are greater, or was it served later in the case when time spent on the case by opposing counsel may be not as large? The coverage you purchase is based on this calculated risk. Feel free to reach out to us to discuss which limit options are best in your case.

[10/12/17]   Testimonial

Hundreds of Florida attorneys have purchased Proposal for Settlement Insurance from LegalFeeGuard.

Since many of their clients do not have the financial resources to pay the premium for this valuable coverage, the vast majority of policies are purchased by the attorneys on behalf of their clients.

The premium for the LegalFeeGuard policy has been deemed in Florida Bar Staff Opinion 28705 (Revised) to be a permissible cost of litigation that may be advanced by the attorney on behalf of the client. The attorney recoups the cost of such premium as a contingency of the attorney making a recovery on behalf of the client.

Don't miss out on the best premium...

Proposal for Settlement Insurance can be a valuable tool for you and your client. But did you know that the premium changes depending on when you purchase the LegalFeeGuard policy?

To get the lowest price available, purchase a policy within 30 days after your client has received a Proposal for Settlement.

It pays to discuss PFS Insurance with your client, within the 30 day period to get our best price!

[10/04/17]   Testimonial

Can the Defendant's carrier decline to pay adverse fees on behalf it its insured?

Maybe. It depends on the language of the policy. That language will be interpreted against the drafter of the policy if there is any ambiguity. In Macedo v. GEICO (S.Ct. July 2017), the Supreme Court of Florida held that GEICO’s policy was ambiguous on this question and ordered GEICO to pay the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees under a Proposal for Settlement. In that case, the PFS was for $50,000 on a $100,000 insurance policy. The open question left unresolved by this case was whether the losses incurred under the PFS were in excess of the policy’s limits. That question will be largely determined by the exact language used in the policy at issue.

[09/28/17]   Testimonial

Proposal for Settlement Insurance is a valuable tool for you and your client.

Assets and attorney's fees insured for as little as $500, with premium being able to be advanced on behalf of the client.

Go to trial without worry of an adverse PFS.

We insure breach of contract, business disputes, commercial law cases, intentional torts, personal injury, and cases heard in federal court applying Florida law.

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Click here to claim your Sponsored Listing.

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Fight back against the pressure of a Proposal for Settlement!
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