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NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF FILED, DISPOSED OF.

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA THIRD DISTRICT JULY TERM, A.D. 2001

UGO COLOMBO, CMC GROUP, INC.,** and SM BRICKELL LIMITED ** PARTNERSHIP, Appellants, vs. DORA PUIG, Appellee. ** ** ** ** CASE NO. 3D01-163 LOWER TRIBUNAL NO. 97-23269

Opinion filed August 8, 2001. An Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Thomas S. Wilson, Jr., Judge. Aragon, Burlington, Weil & Crockett and Daniel F. Blonsky, for appellants. Ferrell, Schultz, Carter, Zumpano & Fertel and H. Eugene Lindsey, for appellee. Before JORGENSON, GODERICH and SHEVIN, JJ. PER CURIAM. We affirm the fee award in the final judgment, finding that the trial court committed no abuse of discretion in arriving at

the awarded amount, and applied the correct legal standard. Kuhnlein v. Dep't of Revenue, 662 So. 2d 309 (Fla. 1995).

See

However, we reverse paragraph 10 of the final judgment that awards costs for the expert's testimony. The costs were awarded

despite a settlement agreement wherein appellee specifically waived the right to recover any additional costs. Settlement

agreements are construed according to principles of contract law, De Cespedes v. Bolanos, 711 So. 2d 216 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998), and where, as here, there is an express provision in a settlement agreement, the courts may not modify or construe those terms. Sec. Ins. of Hartford v. Puig, 728 So. 2d 292 (Fla. 3d DCA 1999). In this case, neither side questioned the reasonableness of the costs incurred in the expert's testimony or the expert's entitlement to compensation. However, in view of the settlement agreement provision waiving same, this cost must be borne by the appellee and/or by the appellee's law firm. in paragraph 10 must be reversed. Affirmed in part; reversed in part. Therefore, the award

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