Florida Settlement Proposal Changes – Civil Law

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For many years, Florida defense practitioners have used a Settlement Proposal (PFS) as a tool to demand certain non-monetary terms, such as the execution of a Settlement Release, as a condition of accepting a settlement. a PFS by the applicant. Effective July 1, 2022, however, the Florida Supreme Court amended Florida Civil Procedure Rule 1.442, which governs the procedural requirements for a PFS.

Provisions

The stated purpose of the Court’s amendment is “to align Rule 1.442 with the substantive elements of Florida’s Proposed Settlement Statutes.” Under the amendment, however, parties are not permitted to serve a PFS containing “non-monetary terms, except for a voluntary dismissal of all claims with prejudice and any other non-monetary terms permitted by the law”. (For example, Section 70.001(4)(c), Florida Statutes, lists non-monetary terms that a government entity may include in a settlement offer when the government action unreasonably encumbers private property rights, such as land exchanges or the transfer of development rights.) Thus, the amendment no longer allows a defendant to include the execution of a settlement receipt as a non-monetary condition required for the acceptance of a PSF. Other material non-monetary terms of settlement, such as lien satisfaction, confidentiality and non-disparagement clauses, would also be excluded under the amendment as non-monetary terms of a PSF.

Analysis

By this amendment, the Court seeks to encourage settlement and reduce disputes regarding the applicability of settlement proposals due to ambiguity issues. Nevertheless, the greater impact of the amendment appears to benefit claimants, who typically do not include non-monetary terms in a PSF. For example, defendants may now be exposed to, among other ramifications, non-confidential settlements, the amounts of which may likely appear on billboards and advertisements throughout Florida.

It is important to note that the amendment does not affect settlement terms and releases entered into outside of the submission of a PFS. In determining whether to accept or serve a PSF, defendants and their insurers should consult with an experienced defense attorney who can assess the multiple considerations and factors involved in the case, including the impact of the transfer attorney’s fees and costs from one party to the other party. .

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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