What Law Applies?
Posted By Christian Givens || Jul 26, 2012
What happens if two state's laws apply to the same case? It would not be judicially efficient to have cases going in two separate states, so most personal injury cases are consolidated into one case in one jurisdiction. The Second District Court of Appeals had to determine this issue in Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Alvis, 72 So.3d 314 (Fla. App., 2011).
Mr. Alvis was ejected from a multipurpose vehicle, and ultimately died as a result of the injuries suffered in that accident. The issues related to the damages recovered by the decedents of Mr. Alvis are not discussed in this opinion. The only thing left to be determined by the trial court was which state's law applies to the issue of attorney's fees. The plaintiff argued that Florida law should apply. The defendant insurance company argued that Nebraska law should apply, as the uninsured motorist claim that ultimately paid the damages to the estate of Mr. Alvis was from a Nebraska policy.
The appeals court held that since the statutory right to attorney's fees is a substantive right and the sole basis for the fee claim was a Nebraska statute, that Nebraska law governs the award of attorney's fees.