4TH DCA Upholds Firm’s
Contingent Fee Risk Multiplier
In 1998, the firm won a landmark wrongful death verdict in Palm Beach County. This was the first known case in the country where a SCUBA divemaster was found negligent for failing to supervise a fully certified diver during a group dive. In 1999, the trial court also awarded a substantial attorneys fee to P&K as a sanction against the Defendant for failing to accept a pretrial Offer of Judgment that was less than 75% of the Final Judgment at trial. Included in the award was a 2.3 contingency risk multiplier pursuant to the Florida Supreme Court decisions in Rowe and Quanstrom. The Defendant then appealed the constitutionality of the multiplier and the 4th DCA has recently affirmed and certified direct conflict with contrary decisions from the 1st and 2nd DCA. Island Hoppers v. Beard, 820 So.2d. 967 (4th DCA 2002). The Florida Supreme Court will now decide whether lawyers handling very difficult or complex personal injury cases on contingent fees will have a right to a fee multiplier where the chances of success at the outset are unlikely.