Can a debtor be forced to pay a creditor’s costs and attorney’s fees incurred in litigation?

That’s a common question and the answer is yes and no. Under Florida law, costs are recoverable to the prevailing party; however, only taxable costs are recoverable. Not all litigation cost is taxable and, therefore, recoverable.

With regard to the recovery of attorney’s fees, under Florida law, a party is only entitled to recover attorney’s fees if there is a provision in a contract establishing that entitlement or if there is a statute establishing that entitlement. There are other mechanisms available in civil litigation to attempt to establish the right to recover attorney’s fees. One is a proposal for settlement, in which case a party makes a proposal.

If that proposal is not accepted and the proposing party prevails in the action in at least a percentage of 25% or more of the amount offered, the party may be entitled to recover attorney’s fees under that circumstance. Now, recovery of attorney’s fees means attorney’s fees are awarded on a piece of paper called a judgement. Collection of the amounts awarded is a separate matter all together.