In Florida nonbinding arbitration the unsuccessful party is liable for the other side's reasonable attorney fees. Let us assume that a HOA association is successful in its defense against an owner's claims. Assume the HOA does not actually pay the attorney fees (insurance pays for the legal fees), are there examples where the plaintiff is not responsible / liable as the Association has not paid the fee?

1 Answer 1


The Association has paid the fee

The fact that the Association had an insurance policy that meant their insurer indemnified them doesn’t mean that the Insured wasn’t liable for the fee. The insurer will have a right of subrogation which means that any right of recovery the insured is entitled to flows to the insurer.

  • In the hypothetical example, the HOA does not pay the fees: assume the insurance company finds a lawyer for the HOA.
    – gatorback
    Mar 14, 2022 at 20:40
  • 1
    @gatorback When an insurance company pays legal fees for the benefit of the HOA those fees are deemed to be incurred and paid by the HOA despite the third-party payment. The insurance company probably has a lien against the amounts repaid to recoup its legal expenses called subrogation rights.
    – ohwilleke
    Mar 14, 2022 at 22:46
  • @ohwilleke Always good to hear from you: thanks for the clarification. IANAL
    – gatorback
    Mar 15, 2022 at 0:47

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