Florida high court: Limits on lawyers’ fees unconstitutional

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Supreme Court is declaring limits on lawyers’ fees paid in so-called claims bills are unconstitutional.

The ruling issued Tuesday involves the case of a boy who was injured at birth due to negligence at Lee County’s public hospital more than 19 years ago.

In 2012, the Legislature agreed to pay $15 million to Aaron Edwards, who suffers from cerebral palsy and other injuries. The amount was less than half of the original jury award, but government agencies are only liable for $200,000 in civil lawsuit unless the state approves a higher amount through a claims bill.

But the lawyers representing Edwards were only paid $100,000 due to the law setting legal fee limits, even though they spent more than $500,000 on the case.

The court agreed the limits in such cases are unconstitutional.

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