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Florida Second DCA rules the defendant's proposal for settlement was enforceable despite alleged ambiguity about whether it called for the dismissal of claims by non-offeree plaintiffs

On March 23, 2018, in Bright House Networks v. Cassidy, No. 2D16-4770, the Florida Second DCA ruled that the trial court erred in determining that a defendant’s proposal for settlement contained a fatal ambiguity that could reasonably cause the offeree to be uncertain about the proposal's conditions. There were five plaintiffs in the breach of contract case. The defendant’s proposal for settlement at issue in this case, submitted pursuant to section 768.79, Florida Statutes, and Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442, was directed to only one of the plaintiffs, but indicated in one paragraph that a condition of the proposal was that the offeree would “would cause this civil action to dismissed with prejudice as to all claims against the offeror.” The trial court focused on this language in concluding that the proposal was fatally ambiguous because it was not clear whether it made the dismissal of the co-plaintiffs’ claims a condition of the proposal. The Second DCA pointed out that another provision of the proposal clearly states that the proposal was intended to resolve “all claims asserted by the Offeree against Offeror in this action” and that the plaintiff receiving the offer obviously had no authority to settle the other plaintiffs’ claims. The Second DCA concluded that the only reasonable interpretation was that it was not a joint offer to all the plaintiffs and did not require a dismissal of the claims by all the plaintiffs