Attorney Dan Cytryn: Then and Now

Then: August 24, 1995. 

Precedent-setting case regarding the loser paying the attorney’s fees.

Now: February 16, 2017.

Successfully arguing for tossing out Daubert evidence standard.

Well a lot of time has come and gone. You can see me on the left when I had different color hair.

On the left, it was my first oral argument in the Florida Supreme Court. It was around 1989 when the jury awarded Marie Dvorak for a slip and fall at the TGI Friday’s in Plantation, $250,000. I had served a proposal for settlement for $55,000.00 under the proposal for settlement statute. The trial judge, Jack Musselman, a very nice man, now deceased, ‘bought' TGI Friday's argument and held that the proposal for settlement was unconstitutional and was discretionary, not mandatory, and denied awarding us attorney’s fees. TGI Friday's first appealed the $250,000.00 final judgment against them to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. They lost.

I then appealed the trial judge's ruling refusing to award us attorney's fees under the proposal for settlement statute. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial judge, and held that the proposal for settlement statute was in fact mandatory and was constitutional. TGI Friday's then appealed that decision to the Florida Supreme Court. They lost again.

That was my first oral argument in the Florida Supreme Court. I was able to convince the Fourth District Court of Appeal and then the Florida Supreme Court that the trial judge and the Third District Court of Appeal judges were wrong in their decision on the attorney’s fee proposal for settlement statute (then called an offer of judgment).

After my argument, the Florida Supreme Court wrote the opinion, and stated that the statute was not unconstitutional and was not discretionary, but held that it was in fact constitutional and mandatory. Because of that decision, cases settle quicker, and the loser at trial often pays attorney’s fees. Since I won and TGI Friday's lost, they had to pay an additional $400,000+ in attorney’s fees and costs over and above the quarter-million dollar jury verdict Mrs. Dvorak received in the slip and fall case. So the way I worked it out for Mrs. Dvorak, she didn't have to pay any attorney’s fees or costs at all.

In the case on the right, an older, somewhat larger and more gray-haired Dan Cytryn argued alongside two other lawyers that the Daubert evidentiary standard was unconstitutional, and in a 4 to 3 decision, we won. For two more years we were free of Daubert. Unfortunately, some new Florida Supreme Court Justices came in and they decided that they would, on their own motion, after several of them had been on the Florida Supreme Court for only about 4 months, reverse that decision. We now have Daubert again.