Skip Navigation

 
The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR

OPINION 70-33
November 16, 1970

It is permissible for a plaintiff's attorney to negotiate with adjusters of an insurance carrier that is represented by defense counsel in the matter, provided such negotiations are with knowledge and consent of the defense counsel.

Opinions: 63-19, 65-62

Chairman Massey stated the opinion of the committee:

An inquiring attorney advises he represents a client in a wrongful death suit while the defense counsel is representing the active tortfeasors who are natural persons and also the insurance carrier. He is confronted with the insurance carrier requiring that settlement negotiations be handled through an adjuster employed by the insurance carrier who is not a member of The Florida Bar. The question posed is whether it is unethical to negotiate with the adjuster, or, alternatively, whether he is required solely to handle settlement with the defense counsel.

The Committee advises consistent with Florida Opinion 63-19 [since withdrawn] that it is not improper for a plaintiff's attorney to negotiate with adjusters of an insurance carrier in settlement negotiations after all parties to the litigation are represented by counsel, providing such negotiations are with the knowledge and consent of the defense counsel. This does not preclude, nor should it preclude, plaintiff's counsel from negotiating settlement with the attorney representing the insured, particularly if the insured has interests apart from the insurance company.

Florida Opinion 65-62 is also reaffirmed and is not altered by the adoption of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]