Assistance Provided Without Personal or Political Influence Must Be Compensated

In Robert & Co. v. Mortland, 160 Fla. 125, 33 So. 2d 732 (Fla. 1948) the plaintiff agreed to assist the defendant in securing an engineering contract with the City of Tampa. 33 So. 2d at 732. After obtaining the contract, the defendant refused to compensate the plaintiff for services rendered. Id. at 733. The plaintiff brought suit, seeking a reasonable fee. The defendant argued that their agreement was unenforceable because: (1) the engineering contract was with a public agency, and the compensation for plaintiff's services was contingent; (2) the means used to secure the contract were personal or political and contrary to public policy. Id. The Court rejected this argument, noting as a "general rule . . . that an employment in which compensation is contingent on success in securing contracts from public officials is not illegal on its face. It must be shown that it was induced by favors or corrupt means." Id. at 734. Because the record in Robert & Co. was "devoid of any showing that the plaintiff had any personal or political influence or that the contract was induced by illegal influence," we concluded the agreement was legal. Id.