Arbitrator’s Finding That A Contract Was Procured By Fraud Precludes Prevailing Party From Recovering Attorneys’ Fees Under The Contract

Having received a favorable arbitration award entitling it to payment for construction services rendered to a veterinary clinic, the contractor sought in the judicial confirmation proceedings to recover its attorneys’ fees as the prevailing party pursuant to a provision in the contract. Standing in its way was a finding by the arbitrator that the clinic procured the construction contract by fraud and that it was void ab initio. Thus, as the Eleventh Circuit reasoned in J.E. Delotto & Sons, Inc. v. Lazarus Holdings, LLC, “[w]ith no binding contract, there cannot be a prevailing party attorney fee recovery under the contract…Because the arbitrator found the construction contract to be void ab initio, DeLotto cannot enforce the
prevailing party attorneys’ fee provision of the construction contract.”

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