Setoff Request When the Settling Defendant Is Found to Be 0% Liable
In Schnepel v. Gouty, 766 So. 2d 418, 419 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000), this Court held that the setoff statutes could not be used to set off an economic damages award when the settling defendant is found to be 0% liable. Gouty, who had been shot with a gun owned by the defendant, Schnepel, sued both Schnepel and the gun's manufacturer, Glock, Inc.
He settled with Glock prior to trial, but Glock remained on the verdict form as a Fabre defendant.
The jury returned a verdict awarding economic and noneconomic damages and finding Schnepel 100% liable and Glock 0% liable.
Schnepel requested a setoff in the full amount of the settlement with Glock.
The district court of appeal certified the following question to this Court:
WHERE THE PLAINTIFF HAS DELIVERED a WRITTEN RELEASE OR COVENANT NOT TO SUE TO a SETTLING DEFENDANT ALLEGEDLY JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE FOR ECONOMIC DAMAGES, SHOULD THE SETTLEMENT PROCEEDS APPORTIONABLE TO ECONOMIC DAMAGES BE SET OFF AGAINST ANY AWARD FOR ECONOMIC DAMAGES EVEN IF THE SETTLING DEFENDANT IS NOT FOUND LIABLE