AmerUs Life Insurance Co. v. Lait

2 So. 3d 203 (2009)

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AmerUs Life Insurance Co. v. Lait

Florida Supreme Court
2 So. 3d 203 (2009)

Facts

AmerUs Life Insurance Company (AmerUs) (plaintiff) filed an action against Michael Lait (defendant). The trial court entered a final judgment in favor of AmerUs and ordered that Lait was to pay AmerUs’s attorney’s fees and costs. The trial court reserved jurisdiction to determine the exact amount of fees-and-costs owed. Eight months later, AmerUs filed a motion to determine the amount of fees-and-costs owed. Lait moved to dismiss, arguing that AmerUs’s motion was untimely because it was filed more than 30 days after entry of the final judgment, in violation of the statutory filing deadline for post-judgment fees-and-costs motions. The trial court dismissed AmerUs’s motion as untimely, effectively barring AmerUs from recovering fees-and-costs from Lait. AmerUs appealed. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed. However, because the appellate court’s decision conflicted with another appellate court’s decision in a similar case, the appellate court then certified a question to the Florida Supreme Court about whether the 30-day statutory filing deadline still applied if the trial court established the parties’ entitlement to attorney’s fees and costs in its final judgment but reserved jurisdiction to determine the exact amount of fees-and-costs owed at a later date.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Quince, C.J.)

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