Jacksonville, Florida, and Orlando, Florida, law firm Regan Atwood handles construction law, business litigation, and real estate litigation for clients across the state.
Regan Atwood managing partner and attorney Jeff Regan answers the question: what’s the dollar amount in dispute on cases we represent?
Is It the Type of Case We Would Take?
The other thing in setting up an initial meeting, once we’ve cleared conflicts, and we have to decide whether or not it’s the type of case we would take.
What Documents Do You Need For Your Meeting?
It’s important and it also saves time and saves money for the client, that the client brings in copies of all contracts, including any attachments to those contracts. Bring:
- Contracts and paperwork
- Construction plans, specs, photos
- Keep emails, dates, timelines
If it were a construction matter, any plans or specifications, any photographs that they have, email, dates, timelines, that they can put together as to when things occurred.
There’s a lot of these disputes. People do not realize as they unfolded over a time period that if you put a timeline together, it’s much easier to track what the dispute is and be able to evaluate it.
Contracts and Their Attachments Are Important
But the contracts are the most important thing and all of its attachments, because the contract is the bargain, the deal, the private statute or ordinance, if you will, between the parties and that’s critical and we have found in many instances that people get in disputes, but they’d never referred a consultant to the requirements of the contract when they get into them. That’s what will be needed.
What Type of Case Do You Have?
The other thing to keep into consideration is the type of case you have. We mentioned before the dollar amount in dispute. That kind of goes into guidelines to cases we represent.
Generally, Not Under $100,000 in Fees
In our experience, it’s virtually impossible to go to trial in a case, even a case that’s not that large for less than $100,000. And we’ve had cases that have been as much as $2 or $3 million in fees.
They’re all over the place. In most instances, it’s better to try to find a way to get your dispute resolved and not go into litigation if you’re dealing with anything under $100,000.
Now, we have handled cases below that, but typically we handle those cases in a manner to see whether it’s part of the initial dispute resolution. We can assist them in getting a resolution short of litigation.
The cases of that size typically are not worth going to litigation over because the attorney’s fees will end up being as much or more than the amount of dispute.
Exceptions: Rights to Attorney’s Fees
There are exceptions of course. If you have a right to attorney’s fees and your contract is a prevailing party, or a right to attorney’s fees by statutes, such as under the construction lien statutes, then you could fight over a smaller case in court.
If You Win, You Get Damages, Attorney’s Fees
And if you win, you get your damages, plus you get all or most of your attorney’s fees paid back to you. But again, what frequently happens in those instances is the case turns into a battle of who’s going to get paid their attorney’s fees after you’re in it for a while and that becomes more of the focus than how much you’re really trying to collect.
Generally, We Accept Cases Above $100,000 in Value
So, our general rule is we try to avoid cases that are under a hundred thousand dollars in value. We do have some long long-term, regular clients that we will do that work for. They’re sophisticated and they understand the risks of litigating for a lower amount.