As we enter the hurricane season homeowners should be aware that many attorneys will possibly decline the opportunity to hesitant to represent homeowners in contingent fee insurance claims.
Why, you ask?
Well, Florida property that meets constitutionally defined size limitations and is owned by a natural person, who is a Florida resident, is protected by Florida’s Constitution against unsecured creditors – including credit card companies, hospitals and now even attorneys.
Thus, obtaining title to a primary residence in Florida provides protection against unsecured creditors including credit card companies, hospitals and now even attorneys.
In a recent decision the Third District Court of Appeals denied a law firm’s motion to impress a charging lien on a homeowner’s insurance proceeds for damages caused by hurricanes due to the court’s finding that the insurance proceeds were exempt homestead property.
After the law firm had secured the proceeds for the benefit of the client and policy insured, the client terminated the law firm’s contingent fee representation and sought to shield himself from any responsibility to compensate his counsel by claiming the insurance proceeds were homestead property.
The court ruled in the homeowner’s favor because as a matter of public policy in the state of Florida one cannot divest himself from the exemptions afforded him through the constitution through an unsecured agreement.