Rule 1.442 Florida Rules of Civil Procedure - Interpretation

Rule 1.442 is designed to facilitate settlements, not to render settlement of a case impossible where there are multiple defendants. In Clements v. Rose, 982 So. 2d 731 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008), the First District held that a settlement offer to a husband and wife was not ambiguous as to whether the settlement offer was conditioned on both parties' agreement. See id. at 732. In Clements, 982 So. 2d at 732, the First District properly relied upon the plain language of rule 1.442 to determine that Fund's settlement offer satisfied the rule: In another case, Appellant's settlement offer apportioned the amount each Appellee was responsible to pay, as required by rule 1.442(c)(3) and explained in Lamb, 906 So. 2d at 1042 ("The plain language of rule 1.442(c)(3) mandates that a joint proposal for settlement differentiate between the parties."). The settlement proposal is conditional upon both Appellees--who are, after all, husband and wife--accepting it and paying their respective portions. Although it is conditional, the offer is as definite as it is within Appellant's power to make, because the condition depends not on Appellant's election, but on each Appellee's election.