RE: Quiroga v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, 35 Fla. L. Weekly D767a (Fla. 3DCA 2010).
the 3rd DCA invalidated a law firm's charging lien for unpaid legal fees that was asserted against the collected proceeds of an insurance claim for a former client, Jesse Quiroga.
Attorneys with the Miami-based law firm of Katzman Garfinkel and Rosenbaum collected monies from an insurance company for unpaid damages to Quiroga's home. After collecting those proceeds, Quiroga fired the attorneys and refused to pay any legal fees and also claimed that the law firm could not deduct such fees from the insurance proceeds because they were homestead protected.
Homestead exemption is a legal regime designed to protect the value of the homes of residents from property taxes, creditors, and circumstances arising from the death of the homeowner spouse.
The Third District agreed with Quiroga, holding that the homestead exemption applies to the property and also applies to the insurance proceeds for the protected property, and a client could not waive such an exemption even by entering into a fee agreement with a lawyer.