Before us is an appeal and cross-appeal from a post-judgment order on remand from this court awarding attorney's fees to be paid by the City of Fort Walton Beach (City) to the appellants, for services rendered by their attorney, George Day, in defending legal actions brought against them as elected council members of the City. Upon review of the record, and consideration of the briefs and arguments of counsel, we affirm as to all issues.
In Thornber v. City of Fort Walton Beach, 568 So.2d 914 (Fla. 1990), the Florida Supreme Court approved, in part, the decision of this court in City of Fort Walton Beach v. Grant, 544 So.2d 230 (Fla. 1st DCA 1989), by holding that this court correctly found the council members entitled to recovery of attorney's fees for their defense of a federal civil rights action against them. The supreme court also ruled, however, that this court was incorrect in denying attorney's fees incurred in defending a recall petition. Pursuant to the mandate of this court, adopting the opinion and decision of the supreme court, this case was remanded to the trial court for determination of amount and entry of judgment awarding reimbursement for attorney's fees incurred in defense of both the recall and the federal civil rights case. The trial court's order awarding attorney's fees pursuant to proceedings on remand is the subject of this appeal.
Although numerous issues are raised by both sides, we feel it necessary to comment briefly on two points only. The first is the council members' contention that the trial court erred in limiting to only 2.0 the contingency fee multiplier to be applied to the lodestar fee determined under Florida Patients Compensation Fund v. Rowe, 472 So.2d 1145 (Fla. 1985). Appellants' position is that a multiplier of 2.5 is mandated, given the circumstances presented by this protracted litigation, particularly in view of the trial court's finding in the order appealed that the likelihood of success was "unlikely," at the outset of the litigation. We are of the view that appellants misread the requirements of Rowe as modified in Standard Guaranty Insurance v. Quanstrom, 555 So.2d 828 (Fla. 1990). We first note that under Quanstrom, the range of the multiplier of cases where success was unlikely is 2.0 to 2.5. Since the trial court's ruling falls within the allowable range, we find that it has not been shown that the trial court reversibly erred by failing to award the top multiplier. It appears that appellants have also overlooked the holding in Quanstrom, supra, that application of the multiplier is not automatically required in contingent fee cases. 555 So.2d at 831; see also, Department of Administration v. Ganson, 566 So.2d 791 (Fla. 1990).
We are also of the view that although, as appellants' urge, the trial court may have concluded that the 2.0 multiplier was appropriate before considering of all the evidence and argument of both sides, nevertheless, the trial court was fully cognizant of all matters bearing on the proper multiplier prior to a final ruling, and we see no useful purpose in remanding to the trial court for reconsideration of the award.
The second issue we find need to mention is appellants' contention that the trial court erred in failing to award attorney's fees for legal services rendered by their attorney in establishing entitlement to fees for defense of the underlying recall and civil rights litigation. Without elaboration on the many pros and cons of this issue as presented by the briefs and arguments of the respective parties, we affirm the trial court's denial of fees for work in establishment of entitlement to attorney's fees given the posture of the case as it appears before us. As noted by the supreme court in Thornber, appellants in that appeal were seeking recovery of legal fees
Further, the reversal and remand pursuant to Thornber, supra, was for the limited purpose of awarding fees incurred in defense of the recall petition and the civil rights action. The mandate of an appellate court is said to constitute "a final judgment in the cause, and compliance is a ministerial act to be performed by the trial court." Nicholson v. Ariko, 565 So.2d 843, 844 (Fla. 5th DCA 1990), and cases cited therein. "It is the duty of the trial court to enforce the mandate and not to stray from it." Id. We therefore are not called upon to decide whether attorney's fees, under appropriate pleadings and proof, would have been awardable for services rendered in establishing appellants' entitlement to attorney fees.
Accordingly, the judgment appealed is in all respects, AFFIRMED.
BOOTH, SMITH and MINER, JJ., concur.