Lawyers Suffer from Florida’s Problems with Assignment of Claim Suits

When a Lawyer Represents a Fraud It is Essential to Clearly Withdraw on that Ground

Kovar Law Group, PLLC (KLG), represented Benchmark Consulting, Inc. d/b/a Castle Roofing (Castle) in more than 90 lawsuits against insurers based on assignments of benefits assigning its claims to Castle. KLG sued to recover contingent fees it claimed it earned after it withdrew from representation of Castle because it claimed withdrawal was mandatory after it learned Castle was involved in presenting fraudulent insurance claims.

In Kovar Law Group, PLLC v. Benchmark Consulting, Inc., Florida Court of Appeals, Second District (December 1, 2021) resolved the lawyers claim for fees.

Castle alleged that KLG filed charging liens in each of the ninety matters it represented Castle in prior to its withdrawal of representation and that it would be unfair to Castle, and an unnecessary burden on the courts, to allow repeated litigation of the same issue when each lien involves what is essentially the same controversy.

KLG withdrew from representation and filed a charging lien, claiming that it had not received full payment from Castle for the legal services it had rendered and the costs it had advanced.


Collateral estoppel generally “comes into play in a case when, in an earlier proceeding involving a different cause of action, the ‘same parties’ litigated the ‘same issues’ that are presented once again for decision.”

The parties litigating the charging lien dispute are the same-KLG and Castle. The federal court ruled that KLG voluntarily withdrew from representation before the occurrence of the contingency contemplated by the parties’ agreement and thus forfeited its claim to compensation.

Judgment of the federal case is conclusive on the issue of whether KLG voluntarily withdrew from its representation of Castle.

When a law firm represents an insurance litigant in more than 90 separate matters and only learns of what it believed to be insurance fraud after filing more than 90 lawsuits and then withdraws without an explanation as to why and how the law firm concluded its client was committing fraud strains credulity. The federal court that first heard the issue concluded that the withdrawal was voluntary and not due to the discovery of fraud which would have made the withdrawal mandatory. Lawyers are, by definition, detail oriented. To not paper the withdrawal of representation clearly and then file 90 liens and attempt to litigate them separately after losing in the federal court is the reason for collateral estoppel. KLG’s liens failed because it did not advise Castle clearly of the reasons why it had to withdraw and because, after it lost in one of the 90 cases it tried the same issue over again in the remaining 89.