News

<< Return to News List

Accepting a Proposal for Settlement in a Case with Multiple Defendants May Not Resolve the Entire Matter

Lisandra Guerrero | October 4, 2018

On October 4, 2018, in Allen v. Nunez, the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion concerning proposals for settlement, which may be helpful in determining how best to phrase and consider proposals directed at multiple parties.

In the underlying matter, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against both the driver and the owner of a vehicle that collided with his truck, claiming damages for the cost of repairs, the truck’s post-repair diminution in value, and the loss of use of the truck.

The plaintiff subsequently served proposals for settlement in the amount of $20,000.00 to each defendant. The proposals contained identical language, except for the name to whom the proposal was directed. One paragraph in each of the proposals for settlement stated it was “made for the purpose of settling all claims made in this case by Plaintiff … against [D]efendant[.]” Neither defendant accepted the plaintiff’s proposal for settlement.

After obtaining a final judgment for $29,785.97, the plaintiff sought to recover his attorney’s fees. The defendants moved to strike the plaintiff’s proposals for settlement, arguing they were ambiguous since it was unclear whether the acceptance and payment by one defendant of the $20,000.00 sum would have resolved the case against one or both of the defendants. The trial court ruled in the plaintiff’s favor. However, Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals found the proposals for settlement to be ambiguous and, therefore, unenforceable.

The Florida Supreme Court overruled the Fifth District, finding that the plaintiff’s proposals for settlement were unambiguous and enforceable for several reasons. Specifically, since each proposal for settlement used the singular term “Plaintiff,” and indicated the defendant to whom it was directed, the Court ruled that the only reasonable interpretation was that each proposal for settlement affected only those parties named.

In light of the Allen decision, proposals for settlement served by a plaintiff in a case involving multiple defendants should be carefully scrutinized. Unless the language of the specific proposal for settlement states otherwise, the acceptance of a proposal for settlement issued by a plaintiff to only one defendant in a case involving multiple defendants may mean that all of the plaintiff’s claimed damages against the other defendant survive. In other words, acceptance of the proposal for settlement may not resolve the entire matter.

Have a question about this opinion? Contact us at info@kubickidraper.com.


locations

Miami

Miami Office

25 West Flagler Street, Penthouse
Miami, FL 33130

T: 305.374.1212 F: 305.374.7846

view location | map location

Miami-Dade

Key West

Key West Office

402 Applerouth Lane, Suite 2C
Key West, FL 33040

T: 305.509.7300 F: 305.374.7846

view location | map location
Monroe
Ft. Lauderdale

Ft. Lauderdale Office

One East Broward Boulevard, Suite 1600
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

T: 954.768.0011 F: 954.768.0514

view location | map location
Broward
West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach Office

515 North Flagler Drive, Suite 1800
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

T: 561.640.0303 F: 561.640.0524

view location | map location

Indian River | Martin | Okeechobee | Palm Beach | Saint Lucie

Tampa

Tampa Office

400 North Ashley Drive, Suite 1200
Tampa, FL 33602

T: 813.204.9776 F: 813.204.9660

view location | map location
Hernando | Hillsborough | Manatee | Pasco | Pinellas | Polk | Sarasota
Orlando

Orlando Office

201 South Orange Avenue, Suite 475
Orlando, FL 32801

T: 407.245.3630 F: 407.245.7685

view location | map location
Brevard | Highlands | Orange | Osceola | Seminole
Ocala

Ocala Office

101 Southwest 3rd Street
Ocala, FL 34471

T: 352.622.4222 F: 352.622.9122

view location | map location
Alachua | Citrus | Dixie | Gilchrist | Lake | Levy | Marion | Putnam | Sumter | Volusia
Jacksonville

Jacksonville Office

76 South Laura Street, Suite 1400
Jacksonville, FL 32202

T: 904.396.0062 F: 904.396.0380

view location | map location
Baker | Bradford | Clay | Columbia | Duval | Flagler | Hamilton | Nassau | Saint Johns | Union
Pensacola

Pensacola Office

125 West Romana Street, Suite 550
Pensacola, FL 32502

T: 850.434.0003 F: 850.434.0223

view location | map location

Escambia | Holmes | Okaloosa | Santa Rosa | Walton

Tallahassee

Tallahassee Office

1705 Metropolitan Boulevard, Suite 202
Tallahassee, FL 32308

T: 850.222.5188 F: 850.222.5108

view location | map location

Bay | Calhoun | Franklin | Gadsden | Gulf | Jackson | Jefferson | Leon | Liberty | Wakulla | Washington | Madison | Lafayette | Taylor 

Ft. Myers

Ft. Myers Office

13350 Metro Parkway, Suite 401
Fort Myers, FL 33966

T: 239.334.8403 F: 239.939.0700

view location | map location

Charlotte | Collier | DeSoto | Glades | Hardee | Hendry | Lee

Mobile

Mobile Office

11 North Water Street, Suite 10290
Mobile, Alabama 36602

T: 251.308.3351 F: 251.287.1624

view location | map location

Baldwin | Washington | Clarke | Escambia | Covington | Geneva | Houston | Henry |  Dale | Coffee | Barbour | Pike |Crenshaw | Butler  | Monroe | Clarke | Choctaw | Wilcox | Bullock | Russell

Seattle

Seattle Office

800 5th Avenue, Suite 4100
Seattle, WA 98104

T: 206.453.3030 F: 206.829.9046

view location | map location
King | Pierce | Snohomish 

hover over location name to preview, or click it for full details

Our Firm

our hi(story)

In 1963, Gene Kubicki founded the firm based on dedication to excellence. The same high standards have been maintained for over five decades -- years which have seen the firm’s ranks swell to over 100 attorneys.

ourattorneys

Our team knows return clients are the life blood of any law firm and this is why we ensure client satisfaction by an exacting attention to service and quality.  Client service coupled with a spectacular work ethic, makes our team hard to beat.

find an attorney

ourDIVERSITY

Kubicki Draper is committed to fostering an environment of equal opportunity for success and believes diversity is not only a moral imperative, but is also sound business practice.

Read More

ourPractices

In response to the growing needs of its clients, the firm began expanding in the early 1980's and today is a diverse full-service law firm providing trial, appellate, coverage, commercial and real estate transaction services.

browse our practice areas

ourresults

Kubicki Draper enjoys a national reputation for expertise in the handling of complex, high stakes litigation matters, as well as, appellate, general commercial and real estate practice.

preview our results

ourreach

With a dozen offices throughout the State of Florida and other key points in the southern parts of Georgia, Alabama and Mississipi, our firm is familiar to every venue statewide and will never get home-teamed.

browse our practice areas