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Supreme Court amends Proposals for Settlement rule

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Supreme Court sealThe Florida Supreme Court has adopted amendments to Civil Procedure Rule 1.442 (Proposals for Settlement) to exclude nonmonetary terms from a proposal for settlement, with some exceptions.

The unanimous court acted May 26 in Case No. SC21-277.

“After considering the comments and oral argument, we amend subdivisions (c)(2)(C) and (c)(2)(D) of rule 1.442 to exclude nonmonetary terms from a proposal for settlement, with the exceptions of a voluntary dismissal of all claims with prejudice and any other nonmonetary terms permitted by statute,” the court said.

The court said the amendments are intended to align Rule 1.442 with the substantive elements of Florida’s settlement proposal statutes. The court said F.S. §768.79, (2021), does not provide for the inclusion of nonmonetary terms in a proposal for settlement.

Instead, the court said, §768.79 “simply contemplates a comparison of monetary amounts, with subsections (2)(c)-(d) of that statute providing only that a settlement offer must ‘[s]tate its total amount’ and ‘[s]tate with particularity the amount offered to settle a claim for punitive damages, if any.’”

However, the court said, F.S. §70.001(4)(c), (2021), contains a list of nonmonetary terms that governmental entities are permitted to include in settlement offers when government action inordinately burdens private property rights, such as “[t]he transfer of development rights” and “[l]and swaps or exchanges.”

So, to be consistent with the substantive elements of the various settlement proposal statutes, the court amended Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442 accordingly.

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