Florida high court: Limits on lawyers' fees unconstitutional

Posted at 6:13 PM, Jan 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-31 18:13:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Supreme Court is declaring limits on lawyers' fees paid in so-called claims bills are unconstitutional.

The ruling issued Tuesday involves the case of a boy who was injured at birth due to negligence at Lee County's public hospital more than 19 years ago.

In 2012, the Legislature agreed to pay $15 million to Aaron Edwards, who suffers from cerebral palsy and other injuries. The amount was less than half of the original jury award, but government agencies are only liable for $200,000 in civil lawsuit unless the state approves a higher amount through a claims bill.

But the lawyers representing Edwards were only paid $100,000 due to the law setting legal fee limits, even though they spent more than $500,000 on the case.

The court agreed the limits in such cases are unconstitutional.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)