Last week, the Florida Supreme Court amended Florida’s Proposal for Settlement (“PFS”) Rule 1.442, Fla. R. Civ. P. Note the amended rule goes into effect July 1, 2022.
Clients and litigants should be made aware of this significant change, as it may alter litigation and/or settlement strategy!
The purpose of Florida’s PFS rule is to incentivize parties to settle disputes. How does the PFS rule accomplish this goal? Attorney’s fees! It creates a way for a party to be awarded attorney’s fees if the other side rejects a reasonable settlement offer.
The most substantial change to the existing rule is that Proposals for Settlement can no longer include any “nonmonetary terms”, with few exceptions. This change provides clarity as to what constitutes a “valid” proposal for settlement and removes an area of gamesmanship the courts have struggled with for decades. However, this could, for example, cause substantial concern in a case where a client wants to require the other side to settle and release claims or damages that are outside the lawsuit’s scope.
Proposals for Settlement are highly technical and the law is ever-changing. A failure to meet certain requirements could result in an unenforceable fee-shifting mechanism.
If you would like additional information about this legal alert, feel free to contact Dunlap & Shipman at your convenience.
Written by: Matt Scanlan, Esq.
Dunlap & Shipman, P.A.