Proposal for settlement for $100 payable within 10 days of entry of dismissal with prejudice is not ambiguous and will support fee award.  [Added 3/10/14]

    Defendant in a malicious prosecution suit made a proposal for settlement to Plaintiff stating that he would settle the case for $100 “payable within ten (10) days of entry of the Order of Dismissal with Prejudice.”  Defendant prevailed on summary judgment, but the trial court denied his motion for fees based on the rejected proposal for settlement.  The Second DCA reversed and remanded for trial, pointing out that the issue of whether Defendant was entitled to a fee award was premature.

    Nevertheless, the appeals court did conclude that, contrary to the position argued by Plaintiff, the proposal for settlement was not ambiguous.  Plaintiff contended that the offer made “an illusory promise to pay” because, if Defendant failed to pay within the 10 days after dismissal, the trial court would not have jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement.  The Second DCA rejected this reasoning.  “Pursuant to the offer of judgment statute, ‘[u]pon filing of both the offer and acceptance, the court has full jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement.’  § 768.79(4), Fla. Stat. (2011); see also Mady v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 59 So.3d 1129, 1133 (Fla. 2011) (stating that ‘a settlement produced pursuant to Florida's offer of judgment statute is subject to that court’s full continuing jurisdiction thereafter’).”  (Emphasis by Supreme Court.)  Ekonomides v. Sharaka, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 2d DCA, No. 2D130272, 3/5/2014).


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