<< Return to Publications List

On the Hook for a Prevailing Party's Attorney's Fees? Here's What to Know About Contingency Fee Multipliers

July 18, 2022

By: Valerie Dondero and Caitlin Polly

With so much litigation in the first party property arena, courts are taking a stronger, more conservative look at a prevailing party’s attorneys’ fees pursuant to §627.428, Fla. Stat., and whether those claims entitle counsel to a contingency fee multiplier.

Under ¶627.428, a prevailing insured is entitled to recover fees from the insurer in a first party claim. The statute’s limitation, however, is that the court “shall” determine “a reasonable sum as fees or compensation” for the insured’s prosecuting of the suit. §627.428, Fla. Stat. Courts are quite familiar with the various factors required to be considered under Florida Patient’s Compensation Fund v. Rowe, 472 So. 2d 1145, 1150-51 (Fla. 1985), in order to determine a reasonable fee. The court must assess both an hourly rate for the attorney seeking fees, as well as a reasonable numbers of hours for the work performed.

Many courts are faced with deciding not only the reasonable number of hours spent litigating, but also whether the prevailing party’s attorney is entitled to a “contingency fee multiplier,” which can double and sometimes triple the hourly rates demanded. Florida has a three-pronged approach to assist in determining whether the award of a contingency fee multiplier is proper. Specifically, trial courts must determine, based on competent and substantial evidence: “(1) whether the relevant market requires a contingency fee multiplier to obtain competent counsel; (2) whether the attorney was able to mitigate the risk of nonpayment in any way; and (3) whether any of the factors set forth in Rowe are applicable, especially, the amount involved, the results obtained, and the type of fee arrangement between the attorney and [the attorney’s] client.” Std. Guar. Ins. Co. v. Quanstrom, 555 So. 2d 828, 834 (Fla. 1990) (emphasis added).

Though all factors are equally-assessed, more recent decisions highlight a deficiency in the presentation of competent, substantial evidence to overcome the first prong—relevant market factor and alternate competent counsel. The purpose of the relevant market factor is “to assess, not just whether there are attorneys in any given area, but specifically whether there are attorneys in the relevant market who both have the skills to handle the case effectively and who would have taken the case absent the availability of a contingency fee multiplier.” Joyce v. Federated Nat’l Ins. Co., 228 So. 3d 1122, 1135 (Fla. 2017). Recently, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the portion of a fee award applying a contingency fee multiplier, holding that Plaintiff “failed to present any evidence [] that the relevant market required a contingency fee multiplier to obtain competent counsel . . . .” Impex Caribe Corp. v. Carl Levin P.A., 2022 WL 610157 (Fla. 3d DCA Mar. 2, 2022). The court likened the case to Universal Property & Casualty Ins. Co. v. Deshpande, 314 So. 3d 416, 420 (Fla. 3d DCA 2020), where the court reversed a contingency fee multiplier because Plaintiff’s fee expert failed to testify that, while there was other competent counsel available in the relevant market, they would not have taken the case on a simple contingency fee and would have done so only if the multiplier was available.

In an effort to thwart contingency fee multipliers, defense counsel must be prepared to highlight the extent of available competent counsel in the relevant market, and to present expert testimony outlining the plethora of competent, first-party claim-handling attorneys from which the insured could have chosen as counsel. Defense counsel should also be prepared to advise the court of other competent counsel in the market that would have taken the case on a simple contingency fee. “If there is no evidence that the relevant market required a contingency fee multiplier to obtain competent counsel, then a multiplier should not be awarded.” See USAA Cas. Ins. Co. v. Prime Care Chiropractic Ctrs., P.A., 93 So. 3d 345, 347 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012) (emphasis added).

Given the number of first party cases flooding Florida’s court system, contingency fee multipliers are increasingly being denied when there is no competent, substantial evidence that the multiplier is “required” in order to obtain competent counsel.

For more information, please contact



Miami Office

9100 South Dadeland Blvd., Suite 1800
Miami, FL 33156

T: 305.374.1212 F: 305.374.7846

view location | map location


Key West

Key West Office

402 Applerouth Lane, Suite 2C
Key West, FL 33040

T: 305.509.7300 F: 305.374.7846

view location | map location
Ft. Lauderdale

Ft. Lauderdale Office

110 East Broward Blvd., Suite 1400
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

T: 954.768.0011 F: 954.768.0514

view location | map location
West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach Office

1700 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., Suite 800
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

T: 561.640.0303 F: 561.640.0524

view location | map location

Indian River | Martin | Okeechobee | Palm Beach | Saint Lucie


Tampa Office

400 North Ashley Drive, Suite 1200
Tampa, FL 33602

T: 813.204.9776 F: 813.204.9660

view location | map location
Hernando | Hillsborough | Manatee | Pasco | Pinellas | Polk | Sarasota

Orlando Office

201 South Orange Avenue, Suite 475
Orlando, FL 32801

T: 407.245.3630 F: 407.245.7685

view location | map location
Brevard | Highlands | Orange | Osceola | Seminole

Ocala Office

1396 NE 20th Avenue, #500
Ocala, FL 34470

T: 352.622.4222 F: 352.622.9122

view location | map location
Alachua | Citrus | Dixie | Gilchrist | Lake | Levy | Marion | Putnam | Sumter | Volusia

Jacksonville Office

1 Independent Drive, Suite 1601
Jacksonville, FL 32202

T: 904.396.0062 F: 904.396.0380

view location | map location
Baker | Bradford | Clay | Columbia | Duval | Flagler | Hamilton | Nassau | Saint Johns | Union

Pensacola Office

125 West Romana Street, Suite 550
Pensacola, FL 32502

T: 850.434.0003 F: 850.434.0223

view location | map location

Escambia | Holmes | Okaloosa | Santa Rosa | Walton


Tallahassee Office

1705 Metropolitan Boulevard, Suite 202
Tallahassee, FL 32308

T: 850.222.5188 F: 850.222.5108

view location | map location

Bay | Calhoun | Franklin | Gadsden | Gulf | Jackson | Jefferson | Leon | Liberty | Wakulla | Washington | Madison | Lafayette | Taylor 

Ft. Myers

Ft. Myers Office

13350 Metro Parkway, Suite 201
Fort Myers, FL 33966

T: 239.334.8403 F: 239.939.0700

view location | map location

Charlotte | Collier | DeSoto | Glades | Hardee | Hendry | Lee


Mobile Office

11 North Water Street, Suite 10290
Mobile, AL 36602

T: 251.308.3351 F: 251.287.1624

view location | map location

Baldwin | Washington | Clarke | Escambia | Covington | Geneva | Houston | Henry |  Dale | Coffee | Barbour | Pike |Crenshaw | Butler  | Monroe | Clarke | Choctaw | Wilcox | Bullock | Russell

hover over location name to preview, or click it for full details

Our Firm

our hi(story)

In 1963, Gene Kubicki founded the firm based on dedication to excellence. The same high standards have been maintained for over five decades -- years which have seen the firm’s ranks swell to over 200 attorneys.


Our team knows return clients are the life blood of any law firm and this is why we ensure client satisfaction by an exacting attention to service and quality.  Client service coupled with a spectacular work ethic, makes our team hard to beat.

find an attorney


Kubicki Draper is committed to fostering an environment of equal opportunity for success and believes diversity is not only a moral imperative, but is also sound business practice.

Read More


In response to the growing needs of its clients, the firm began expanding in the early 1980's and today is a diverse full-service law firm providing trial, appellate, coverage, commercial and real estate transaction services.

browse our practice areas


Kubicki Draper enjoys a national reputation for expertise in the handling of complex, high stakes litigation matters, as well as, appellate, general commercial and real estate practice.

preview our results


With a dozen offices throughout the State of Florida and other key points in the southern parts of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississipi, our firm is familiar to every venue statewide and will never get home-teamed.

find the location near you