Does $222,000 sound like an unbelievable amount to spend on legal fees to fight a homeowner’s association’s lawsuit over a $2,212 bill for lawn re-sodding? That’s exactly what happened to a retired Tampa, Florida couple when they refused to pay the total sodding bill because it included sod laid on county property. The HOA sued the homeowners, and 11 years, six judges, one jury, three appeals, and $222,000 in legal fees later, the homeowner’s were vindicated. The court will later rule on whether the HOA must reimburse the couple for their legal fees, and if so, how much.
S0 how did such a simple case go on for so long? LPR sees this case as a teaching moment for all legal consumers. What at first appears to be a simple case that should resolve quickly, may not end up being so simple or quick. Sometimes your opponent engages in scorched earth litigation. Sometimes one (or more) of the lawyers keep the litigation going. Sometimes the judge denies pre-trial motions that allow a simple case to drag on. And sometimes there is an appeal, which can take years in some jurisdictions.
Before you embark on a lawsuit – either as a plaintiff or a defendant – take a moment to consider that the case could take on a life of its own. And remember, the longer a case is in litigation, the more attorney’s fees will rack up — maybe way more than the amount you’re fighting over and way more than you can afford.
You’ve got options. The Center for Legal Practice Reform can help you navigate the attorney/client relationship and level the playing field. Call LPR today for a free consultation – (301) 351-7970.
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