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Florida Third DCA rules that proposal for settlement was invalid because it did not apportion liability between the two offerors

On April 11, 2018, in Peltz v. Trust Hospitality International, LLC, No. 3D17-428, the Florida Third DCA reversed a trial court’s award of attorney’s fees and costs after concluding that the proposal for settlement that provided the basis for the award under Fla. Stat. 768.79 improperly failed to apportion liability between the two offerors as required by Fla. R. Civ, P. 1.442(c)(3). The appellee offerors argued that the exception to Rule 1.442(c)(3), contained in 1.442(c)(4) was applicable. The latter provision states that a joint offering party need not receive any apportionment if that party is alleged to be “solely vicariously, constructively, derivatively, or technically liable, whether by operation of law or by contract.” The Court concluded that under the circumstances of the case, neither of the joint offering parties satisfied these criteria. Quoting from Saterbo v. Markuson, 210 So. 3d 135, 138 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016), the Court observed that “[t]he focus of the exception contained in rule 1.442(c)(4) is not whether a party is liable for the full amount of damages, but rather, it is whether the claims against the party are direct claims or solely claims of vicarious or other forms of indirect liability.”