The Fourth District shot down yet another Proposal for Settlement due to faulty application. While alternative dispute methods are favored in theory, enforcing arbitration (based upon contract between the parties before suit) or Proposal of Settlement (based upon vehicle during suit) is difficult to achieve.
In Palm Beach Polo Holdings, Inc. v. Equestrian Club Estates Property Owners Association, Inc. (Kaplan, Polen, and Cikin), the court addressed a case where the complaint brought two counts for injunctive relief and one count for damages. Can a party use a Proposal for Settlement in such situations?
Yes, but not to resolve the entire case, only the damages count. Per Florida Statute 768.79, Proposals only apply to civil actions for damages. In a case which is a hybrid damages/injunction case, a general offer applying to the entire [hybrid] case is not binding.
Here, the court pointed out the strict construction analysis which plagues applies to Proposals for Settlement as well as the fact that acceptance in this case may not have ended litigation.