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Florida Fourth DCA holds that defendant's Proposal for Settlement was enforceable despite use of broader language in Releases regarding parties and incidents covered

On March 22, 2017, in Costco v. Llanio-Gonzalez, the Florida Fourth DCA reversed a trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion for attorney’s fees under Florida Statute 768.79 and Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442 relating to the defendant’s submission of a Proposal for Settlement to the plaintiff. After granting the defendant’s summary judgment motion, the trial court had refused to order the payment of attorney’s fees, finding that the release attached to the Proposal for Settlement was actually broader than the Proposal for Settlement in two key respects; i.e. in extending the release not just to the defendant but also two a variety of related individuals and entities, and extending the scope of the release to cover not just the incident alleged in the complaint but also all claims, “by reason of any matter,” up to the date of the release. The Fourth DCA reversed the trial court, finding that the trial court’s ruling was inconsistent with its previous ruling in Board of Trustees of Florida Atlantic University v. Bowman, 853 So. 2d 507 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). See also Plumpton v. Cont’l Acreage Dev. Co., Inc., 830 So. 2d 208, 210 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002).