L. Ross, Inc. v. R. W. Roberts Const. Co., Inc.

Decision Date16 January 1986
Docket NumberNo. 66607,66607
Citation481 So.2d 484,11 Fla. L. Weekly 31
Parties11 Fla. L. Weekly 31 L. ROSS, INC., a Florida corporation, Petitioner, v. R. W. ROBERTS CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., Transamerica Insurance Company, B.E. McCall and Thomas Adair, Respondents.
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

Charles Evans Davis and Frederick B. Karl, Jr. of Fishback, Davis, Dominick, Bennett, Owens & Watts, Orlando, for petitioner.

William L. Mims, Jr. of Sanders, McEwan, Mims & Martinez, Orlando, for respondents.

SHAW, Justice.

We have before us by petition for review L. Ross, Inc. v. R. W. Roberts Construction Co., 466 So.2d 1096 (Fla.5th DCA 1985), due to express and direct conflict with American Cast Iron Pipe Co. v. Foote Brothers Corp., 458 So.2d 409 (Fla.4th DCA 1984). We have jurisdiction pursuant to article V, section 3(b)(3), Florida Constitution.

The salient facts were stated by the district court as follows:

Section 627.428 (formerly section 627.0127), Florida Statutes (1983), permits the recovery of attorney's fees when insureds recover judgments against insurers. Section 627.756 (formerly 627.0905), Florida Statutes (1983), extends the application of section 627.428 to actions in which owners, laborers, materialmen and subcontractors recover judgments against sureties in actions on payment bonds. Section 627.756 originally contained a qualifying provision limiting attorney's fees to not more than twelve and one-half percent of the judgment recovered. By statutory amendment effective October 1, 1982, this limitation on the amount of attorney's fees was repealed. Appellant, a subcontractor, had an action pending against appellee Transamerica Insurance Company on a payment bond when the twelve and a half percent limitation was repealed. The trial court limited appellant's recovery of attorney's fees to twelve and a half percent ....

L. Ross, Inc., 466 So.2d at 1097. The district court affirmed the trial court and refused to apply retroactively the statutory amendment repealing the twelve and one-half percent limitation to a cause of action that was already in existence at the time of the effective date of the amendment. The district court acknowledged conflict with American Cast Iron.

Presented with virtually indistinguishable facts, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in American Cast Iron found the statutory amendment applicable because it construed the statute as remedial rather than substantive in that it did not create a new right or take away a vested right, but rather affected only the amount of attorney's fees that could be recovered. Remedial statutes are excepted from the general rule against retrospective application of statutes. Village of El Portal v. City of Miami Shores, 362 So.2d 275 (Fla.1978). We agree...

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27 cases
  • Weingrad v. Miles
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 3 Marzo 2010
    ...at common law); Kaisner v. Kolb, 543 So.2d 732, 739 (Fla. 1989) (waiver of sovereign immunity was statutory); L. Ross, Inc. v. R.W. Roberts Const. Co., 481 So.2d 484 (Fla. 1986) (right to attorney's fees was statutory); Young v. Altenhaus, 472 So.2d 1152 (Fla.1985) (attorney's fees); Knowle......
  • Hyster Co. v. David
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 21 Enero 1993
    ...in a particular instance." L. Ross, Inc. v. R.W. Roberts Construction Co., 466 So.2d 1096, 1098 (Fla. 5th DCA1985), aff'd, 481 So.2d 484 (Fla.1986). We have not overlooked the recent decision in Shova v. Eller, 606 So.2d 400 (Fla. 2d DCA1992). In Shova, the plaintiff, individually and as pe......
  • Lewis v. Vill. of Hobart
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Court of Appeals
    • 1 Julio 2014
    ...attorney's fees is part of the substantive right of a suit.”The closest Lewis comes to an analogous case is L. Ross, Inc. v. R.W. Roberts Construction Co., 481 So.2d 484 (Fla.1986). However, rather than creating a rebuttable presumption regarding the reasonableness of a fee, the statute at ......
  • Gordon v. State
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 27 Agosto 1991
    ...the cause of action which gives rise to them. L. Ross, Inc. v. R.W. Roberts Const. Co., 466 So.2d 1096 (Fla. 5th DCA 1985), aff'd, 481 So.2d 484 (Fla.1986). For all these reasons, we summarily reject the contention that the state has invalidly taken a property right of the plaintiff. Ross, ......
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