Careful readers of this blog may have discerned that we frequently point out the hopeless state of offers of settlement jurisprudence.
And we're not alone -- all the state DCAs and even the Florida Supreme Court have struggled with how to deal with a legacy of bad decisions, statutory confusion and amendments, exceptions that swallow the rule, practitioner misunderstanding, and general confusion.
But the Supremes are here to try again (except for a dissent):
We conclude that the plain language of the settlement offer in this case demonstrates it was a joint proposal. Although the offer was titled “Defendant, Florida Medical Center’s, Proposal for Settlement/Offer of Judgment,” the text of the proposal unambiguously refers to the defendant offerors in the plural. Thus, under the clear wording of the proposal, two offerors—FMC Hospital and FMC Medical—presented the offer. Accordingly, under section 768.79 and rule 1.442 the proposal was invalid because it failed to apportion the settlement amount between FMC Hospital and FMC Medical.That should clear things up.