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Florida Third DCA rules that defendant's proposal for settlement was not fatally flawed by language in general release referring to plaintiff's "legal representatives" as a releasing party

On November 1, 2017, in Obregon v. Rosana Corp., No. 3D16-2104, the Florida Third DCA reversed a trial court’s order denying a prevailing defendant an award of attorney’s fees under section 768.79, Florida Statutes. The trial court had ruled that the defendant’s proposal for settlement was ambiguous and thus unenforceable. Specifically, the language the trial court was concerned about was the inclusion of the plaintiff’s “legal representatives” as a releasing party. The Third DCA noted that identical language had been contained in a proposal for settlement found enforceable by the Fourth DCA in Board of Trustees of Florida Atlantic University v. Bowman, 853 So. 2d 507, 509-10 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). The Third DCA also cited previous DCA decisions finding proposals for settlement enforceable despite provisions in attached releases referring to “subsidiaries” (Alamo Fin., L.P. v. Mazoff, 112 So. 3d 626, 629 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013) and including non-parties (Jessla Constr. Corp. v. Miami-Dade Cty. Sch. Bd., 48 So. 3d 127, 130 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010).