What Do the Attorney Fee Tea Leaves Reveal?  In Castellanos v. Next DoorCompany/Amerisure, the First DCA addressed a matter in which the Judge of Compensation Claims awarded Claimant's counsel an attorney's fee of only $164.54 for 107.2 hours of legal work, based upon the guidelines of F.S. 440.  The underlying fee was challenged, as so many similar fees with exorbitant hours and paltry fees have been, on the grounds the statute was unconstitutional.  The First DCA concluded that the statute was in fact constitutional, based on prior precedent...So, nothing to see here folks...

However, in a surprising final act, the First DCA nevertheless certified the following as a question of great public importance "WHETHER THE AWARD OF ATTORNEY'S FEES IN THIS CASE IS ADEQUATE, AND CONSISTENT WITH THE ACCESS TO COURTS, DUE PROCESS, EQUAL PROTECTION, AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS OF THE FLORIDA AND FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONS" (No emphasis added)

As a result, there is considerable uncertainty as to whether the Florida Supreme Court will simply affirm the attorney fee statute as is, declare it unconstitutional in whole or in part, or otherwise alter the statute.  Speculating on the outcome offers about as good a chance of being right as one would get playing blackjack, but suffice it to say, if you have an attorney fee matter outstanding in a matter which would currently be regulated by the statutory fee regimen, it is highly advisable to try and resolve it before the Florida Supreme Court potentially changes it to an hourly fee case for the Claimant's attorney.