Raffv.CitiMortgage, Inc.

DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA SECOND DISTRICTMay 24, 2019
272 So. 3d 859 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2019)

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Case No. 2D16-4721

05-24-2019

Robert F. RAFF and Bernice R. Raff, Appellants, v. CITIMORTGAGE, INC., Appellee.

Mark P. Stopa of Stopa Law Firm, LLC, Tampa (withdrew after briefing), and Latasha Scott of Lord Scott, PLLC, Tampa (withdrew after briefing), for Appellants. Nancy M. Wallace and Ryan D. O'Connor of Akerman LLP, Tallahassee; and William P. Heller of Akerman LLP, Fort Lauderdale, for Appellee.


Mark P. Stopa of Stopa Law Firm, LLC, Tampa (withdrew after briefing), and Latasha Scott of Lord Scott, PLLC, Tampa (withdrew after briefing), for Appellants.

Nancy M. Wallace and Ryan D. O'Connor of Akerman LLP, Tallahassee; and William P. Heller of Akerman LLP, Fort Lauderdale, for Appellee.

CASANUEVA, Judge.

Robert F. Raff and Bernice R. Raff appeal a final judgment of foreclosure entered in favor of Citimortgage, Inc. We find merit only in their argument that the trial court improperly awarded attorney's fees to Citimortgage, and we reverse that portion of the final judgment.

The Raffs argue, and Citimortgage concedes, that there was insufficient evidence to support the award of attorney's fees. In Sourcetrack, LLC v. Ariba, Inc., 34 So. 3d 766, 768 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010), this court noted that an award of attorney's fees must be supported by expert testimony from attorneys who are not involved in the case. In the present case, the only testimony offered at trial to support an award of attorney's fees came from an employee of Citimortgage. She testified that Phelan Hallinan represents Citimortgage in this action and that Citimortgage is required to pay Phelan Hallinan a reasonable fee for its services. She was asked, "Can you tell me how much you are asking for?" The witness responded, "$ 3,717.50." As Citimortgage now concedes, this testimony was insufficient to support the award of fees. See Sciandra v. PennyMac Corp., 227 So. 3d 164, 164 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017) ("[T]he trial court improperly awarded attorney's fees of $ 11,309 to PennyMac because PennyMac failed to present expert testimony as to the reasonableness of their attorney's hourly rate and hours expended.").

Therefore, we reverse the award of attorney's fees and remand with instructions to reduce the amount of the final judgment by $ 3,717.50. We affirm the final judgment of foreclosure in all other respects.

Affirmed in part; reversed in part; remanded with instructions.

BLACK and LUCAS, JJ., Concur.