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Florida Fourth DCA rules that plaintiff's separate proposals for settlement to two defendants were valid even though defendants had discretion as to how to apportion total payment

On October 11, 2017, in Golisting.Com, Inc. v. Papera, No. 4D16-378, the Florida Fourth DCA reversed a trial court’s denial of a prevailing plaintiff’s motion for enforcement of its proposal for settlement and award of attorney’s fees. The plaintiff had issued separate identical proposals for settlement to two defendants which stipulated that the total sum that the plaintiff was seeking from both defendants together was $40,000. The proposals for settlement additionally stipulated that if both defendants tendered the $40,000, then the plaintiff would return $20,000 to each defendant. After prevailing at trial, the plaintiff sought attorney’s fees under section 768.79, Florida Statutes, and the rule implementing it, Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442. The trial court denied the motion based on Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442(c)(3), which requires joint proposals to state the amount and terms attributable to each party. The Fourth DCA concluded that the proposals for settlement sufficiently apportioned liability between the defendants.