Under Florida Statute Section 741.30(5)(a), if the court finds there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence, it may grant a temporary injunction, pending a full hearing. Following a full hearing, if the court determines the petitioner is the victim of domestic violence or is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, the court may enter a final injunction.
If you were recently served with a petition for injunction against violence, then contact an experienced attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We can help you fight false or exaggerated allegations. Call 813-250-0500.
Reasons the Court Might Award Attorney Fees
As a practical matter, it is difficult to get attorney fees in a typical domestic violence injunction case even when the respondent shows that that the allegations were false or exaggerated. The court is more likely to award attorney fees as a sanction when the petitioner engages in litigation misconduct by failing to appear for a deposition or otherwise intentionally frustrating the discovery process in the case.
Either way, when the respondent is awarded attorney fees, it is often a way for the record to show that the original claim was without merit, especially since an injunction for protection can never be sealed or expunged.
At the Sammis Law Firm, we are prepared to file a motion for attorney fees when we represent a respondent who prevails at a hearing or because the petitioner voluntarily dismisses the action prior to the hearing.
Attorney Fees under Section 57.105, F.S.
When appropriate, we can help you file a claim for attorney fees under Section 57.105, F.S., which authorizes the court to award reasonable attorney’s fees when the court finds the losing party or the losing party’s attorney should have known that a claim or defense presented to the court or at trial was either:
- not supported by the material facts necessary to establish the claim or defense; or
- would not be supported by the application of then-existing law to those material facts.
The Florida Supreme Court recently held that section 57.105 does not prohibit awarding attorney's fees in a section 784.046 action for dating violence, repeat violence, and sexual violence injunction proceedings under section 784.046, Florida Statutes. Lopez v. Hall, 233 So. 3d 451, 452 (Fla. 2018).
Prior to this decision, courts often found that there was no statutory authority to award attorney fees as sanctions in domestic violence proceedings because Section 741.30, F.S., did not expressly allow the award of attorney fees in domestic violence injunction hearings.
Now, however, Florida law is clear that the court does have the authority to order the petitioner to pay the respondent's reasonable attorney fees under Section 57.105 when the elements of that statute are satisfied.
Section 57.105, Florida Statutes, provides in pertinent part:
(1) Upon the court's initiative or motion of any party, the court shall award a reasonable attorney's fee, including prejudgment interest, to be paid to the prevailing party in equal amounts by the losing party and the losing party's attorney on any claim or defense at any time during a civil proceeding or action in which the court finds that the losing party or the losing party's attorney knew or should have known that a claim or defense when initially presented to the court or at any time before trial:
(a) Was not supported by the material facts necessary to establish the claim or defense; or
(b) Would not be supported by the application of then-existing law to those material facts....
(6) The provisions of this section are supplemental to other sanctions or remedies available under law or under court rules.
Attorney for Domestic Violence Injunction Cases in Tampa, FLIf you were served with a petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, or stalking, then contact an experienced attorney who is focused on representing respondent facing false allegations.
We represent respondents who are accused of false allegations in an injunction for protection case in the courtrooms in Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County, FL.
We also represent clients in protective order hearings throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including Hernando County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, and Manatee County, FL.
This article was last updated on Friday, June 8, 2018.