Young v. Altenhaus, Nos. 64504

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtOVERTON; BOYD; EHRLICH
Citation472 So.2d 1152,10 Fla. L. Weekly 252
Parties10 Fla. L. Weekly 252 Jerrold YOUNG, Petitioner, v. Fern ALTENHAUS, Respondent. John E. MATHEWS, et ux., Petitioners, v. Glenn L. POHLMAN, etc., et al., Respondents.
Decision Date02 May 1985
Docket Number64589,Nos. 64504

Page 1152

472 So.2d 1152
10 Fla. L. Weekly 252
Jerrold YOUNG, Petitioner,
v.
Fern ALTENHAUS, Respondent.
John E. MATHEWS, et ux., Petitioners,
v.
Glenn L. POHLMAN, etc., et al., Respondents.
Nos. 64504, 64589.
Supreme Court of Florida.
May 2, 1985.

Page 1153

James C. Blecke of Blackwell, Walker, Gray, Powers, Flick and Hoehl, Miami, for Jerrold Young, petitioner.

Peter S. Schwedock of Pelzner, Schwedock, Finkelstein and Klausner, Miami, for Fern Altenhaus, respondent.

R.J. Beckham of Beckham, McAliley and Schulz, Jacksonville, for John E. Mathews, et ux., petitioners.

John F. Corrigan and Lori E. Terens of Ulmer, Murchison, Ashby, Taylor and Corrigan, Jacksonville, for Joseph J. Lowenthal, M.D., Lowenthal & Puestow, P.A., and Florida Physicians' Insurance Reciprocal, respondents.

Pattillo and McKeever, P.A., Ocala, for Glenn L. Pohlman, M.D., Vinod D. Deshmukh, M.D., Jacksonville Neurological Clinic, P.A., and Florida Physicians' Insurance Reciprocal, respondents.

OVERTON, Justice.

These two cases are before the Court upon petitions for review of decisions of two district courts of appeal reported as Young v. Altenhaus, 448 So.2d 1039 (Fla. 3d DCA 1983), and Pohlman v. Mathews, 440 So.2d 681 (Fla. 1st DCA 1983). Each district court upheld the validity of section 768.56, Florida Statutes (1981), which authorizes the trial court to award a reasonable attorney's fee to the prevailing party in a malpractice action. *

We have upheld the constitutionality of section 768.56 in Florida Patient's Compensation Fund v. Rowe, 472 So.2d 1145 (Fla.1985), released simultaneously with this opinion. These two cases present the question of whether section 768.56 applies to causes of action that accrued prior to that statute's effective date. For the reasons expressed below, we find that the assessment of attorney fees under section 768.56 is not applicable to these causes of action.

The following are the relevant facts in each of these cases.

Young v. Altenhaus

Altenhaus, the plaintiff in the trial court, prevailed in a malpractice action against Young, who is a physician, and another physician. The malpractice incident occurred in 1979, which was prior to the effective date of section 768.56. The trial court assessed attorney fees against the two physicians in the amount of $10,000 under the authority of section 768.56. Young challenged the constitutionality of the attorney fee statute in both the trial court and the district court on due process and equal protection grounds. The district court upheld the validity of the statute and the trial court's assessment of attorney fees.

Mathews v. Pohlman

Mathews was the plaintiff in the trial court, but lost in his malpractice action against Pohlman and other physicians. Mathews' cause of action accrued against the respondent physicians in 1978 and 1979 for alleged malpractice acts. The respondent physicians sought to recover $384,684 in attorney fees from Mathews pursuant to section 768.56 in the trial court. The trial court refused to apply the statute and found it violated the constitutional guarantees of equal protection, due process,...

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69 practice notes
  • Weingrad v. Miles, No. 3D08-1592.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 3, 2010
    ...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); Knowles, 402 So.2d at 1155 (sovereign immunity); see also R.A.M., 869 So.2d 1210 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004) (Canady, J., use......
  • American Motors Corp. v. Abrahantes, Nos. 84-2294
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • June 25, 1985
    ...upon by the Abrahanteses and Exon, did not involve a long-arm statute and was disapproved by the supreme court in Young v. Altenhaus, 472 So.2d 1152 (Fla.1985), to the extent it held that a retroactive application of section 768.56, Florida Statutes (1983), which provides for the awarding o......
  • Florida Patient's Compensation Fund v. Rowe, No. 64459
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 2, 1985
    ...computing reasonable attorney fees. We note that in our decision in the consolidated cases of Young v. Altenhaus and Mathews v. Pohlman, 472 So.2d 1152 (Fla.1985), issued simultaneously with this opinion, we held that this section may not be applied in cases where the cause of action accrue......
  • Martin v. State, Case No. 2D16–4468
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 4, 2018
    ...to apply prospectively only while procedural or remedial statutes are presumed to operate retrospectively." (citing Young v. Altenhaus, 472 So.2d 1152 (Fla. 1985) ) ). Broadly speaking, substantive law is that which "prescribes duties and rights," while "procedural law concerns the means an......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
69 cases
  • Weingrad v. Miles, No. 3D08-1592.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 3, 2010
    ...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); Knowles, 402 So.2d at 1155 (sovereign immunity); see also R.A.M., 869 So.2d 1210 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004) (Canady, J., use......
  • American Motors Corp. v. Abrahantes, Nos. 84-2294
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • June 25, 1985
    ...upon by the Abrahanteses and Exon, did not involve a long-arm statute and was disapproved by the supreme court in Young v. Altenhaus, 472 So.2d 1152 (Fla.1985), to the extent it held that a retroactive application of section 768.56, Florida Statutes (1983), which provides for the awarding o......
  • Florida Patient's Compensation Fund v. Rowe, No. 64459
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • May 2, 1985
    ...computing reasonable attorney fees. We note that in our decision in the consolidated cases of Young v. Altenhaus and Mathews v. Pohlman, 472 So.2d 1152 (Fla.1985), issued simultaneously with this opinion, we held that this section may not be applied in cases where the cause of action accrue......
  • Martin v. State, Case No. 2D16–4468
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 4, 2018
    ...to apply prospectively only while procedural or remedial statutes are presumed to operate retrospectively." (citing Young v. Altenhaus, 472 So.2d 1152 (Fla. 1985) ) ). Broadly speaking, substantive law is that which "prescribes duties and rights," while "procedural law concerns the means an......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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