rewards flagpole lawyer
Courtesy of The Palm Beach Post
December 01, 2006
Silver took on a long shot when he agreed to represent a Jupiter man against a
homeowners association in a tangled legal fight over a flagpole.
On Thursday, after five years of litigation, it paid off.
In a rare decision, a judge ordered the homeowners
association to pay Silver twice his regular legal fees - a total of $126,225
- after he successfully argued the case against The Indian Creek Homeowners
Association Phase 3B.
Originally, Silver agreed to represent George Andres, a
68-year-old veteran at odds with his neighborhood association over a flagpole he
had put in his yard, for free. By the time he came on board, a judge had ruled
against Andres, and he and his wife were ordered to pay about $30,000 in
An attorney for the association then filed a foreclosure
lawsuit because Andres couldn't pay.
Silver got a temporary injunction that kept Andres'
American flag flying and then won an appeal that reversed the rulings against
Andres. As Silver made the case, he said, he saw a way to argue that the
homeowners association should pick up the tab for his services.
"In Florida, homeowners associations are used to
running roughshod over the rights of their clients. And the reason they can do
that is once they decide to go after one of their own homeowners, it's virtually
impossible for a homeowner to find an attorney to represent them," Silver
said, explaining the crux of his argument.
Circuit Court Judge Edward Fine bought it, and as part of
the decision awarded Silver twice his regular hourly fee, because of the risk
involved in taking such a labor-intensive case without guarantee of payment.
Neither members of the homeowners association nor its
attorney could be reached for comment.
Silver said he hopes the ruling will encourage other
lawyers to challenge homeowners associations.
As for Andres, he said he was pleased with the ruling.
was good," he said. "We spent a lot of time, my wife and myself, in
and out of court because of this."