Tuesday, February 8, 2011

11th Circuit to Florida Supreme Court: Oy with this Whole Offer of Judgment Business!



Regular readers will know my hate-hate relationship with the bewildering state of Florida offer of judgment law -- a mishmash of old and changing statutes, inconsistent and contradictory opinions, mucked up revisions to the Florida Rules of Civil of Procedure, and a general feeling of dread and creeping doom whenever one is confronted with, or God forbid, perhaps considering tendering such an offer in any piece of complex commercial litigation.

That's why I found this 11th Circuit opinion dealing with these issues such a hoot (h/t meatballer):
 In this offer of judgment case, we certify three questions to the Florida Supreme Court, seeking guidance as to the application of Florida’s offer of judgment statute, Fla. Stat. § 768.79, and Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442.

First, we inquire whether an offer of judgment may be viable when filed under the following circumstances: the offer was filed by a defendant after a jury verdict for the defendant had been set aside by the district court’s grant of a new trial, and after the new trial date had been scheduled, but more than 45 days before the scheduled retrial; and the defendant ultimately prevailed because the appellate court reversed the grant of a new trial and reinstated the initial verdict. Second, we ask whether the term “joint proposal” in Rule 1.442(c)(3) applies to cases where acceptance of the offer is conditioned upon dismissal with prejudice of an offeree’s claims against an offeror and a third party. Finally, we seek a determination of whether the Florida offer of judgment statute applies to actions filed in Florida, in which there exists a contractually agreed upon choice-of-law clause providing for the application of the substantive law of another state. We certify these questions because we are unable to find definitive answers in clearly established Florida law, either case law or statutory.
 You and me both, you and me both.

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