HSBC v WILLIAMS | FL 3rd DCA - Appeals Court Affirms Trial Court's Order Awarding the Homeowner $74,429 in Costs and Attorney's Fees

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HSBC v WILLIAMS | FL 3rd DCA – Appeals Court Affirms Trial Court’s Order Awarding the Homeowner $74,429 in Costs and Attorney’s Fees

HSBC v WILLIAMS | FL 3rd DCA – Appeals Court Affirms Trial Court’s Order Awarding the Homeowner $74,429 in Costs and Attorney’s Fees

Third District Court of Appeal
State of Florida, July Term, A.D. 2013

Opinion filed July 31, 2013.

Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
________________
No. 3D12-1784

Lower Tribunal No. 09-10793
________________
HSBC Bank USA, N.A., etc.,
Appellant,

vs.

Gayle Williams, et al.,
Appellees.

An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, David C. Miller,
Judge.

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, and Richard C.
Swank (Orlando), for appellant.

Roberta G. Mandel, P.A., and Roberta G. Mandel and Dennis R. Haber,
P.A., for appellees.

Before WELLS, LAGOA and LOGUE, JJ.
LOGUE, J.

This appeal stems from a foreclosure case filed by the lender, HSBC Bank
USA, N.A., as Trustee for the Registered Holders of Renaissance Equity Loan
Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2007-3 (“the Bank”), against Gayle Williams
(“the Homeowner”). The underlying foreclosure case was dismissed by the trial
court based upon the Bank’s failure to comply with various discovery orders. The
trial court’s dismissal in that regard was not appealed. In the matter before us, the
Bank challenges the trial court’s order awarding the Homeowner $74,429 in costs
and attorney’s fees.

Given the Bank’s history in this case of disobeying court orders, we reject
the Bank’s assertion that the trial court abused its discretion in sanctioning the
Bank for failing to comply with the court’s scheduling order regarding attorney’s
fees. Turning to the issue of the amount of the fees, the record contains the
following evidence: (1) the time sheets and billing records of the Homeowner’s
attorney; (2) the testimony of the Homeowner’s attorney; and (3) the testimony of
two attorneys who offered expert opinions in support of the amount of fees.
Contrary to the contention of the Bank, the record reflects that the Bank had prior
written notice of the names of the expert witnesses who testified for the
Homeowner on the issue of the amount of the attorney’s fees.

In light of the substantial competent evidence in the record that supports the
trial court’s findings, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in
awarding the costs and fees in the amount at issue. See Shands Teaching Hosp. &
Clinics, Inc. v. Mercury Ins. Co. of Fla., 97 So. 3d 204, 213 (Fla. 2012) (“The
standard of review for an award of prevailing party attorney fees is abuse of
discretion.”); United Auto Ins. Co. v. Ricardo, 916 So. 2d 44 (Fla. 3d DCA 2005)
(same).

Affirmed.

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