Dawn M. Carsten Successfully Defeated Plaintiff’s Motion to Enforce Settlement

October 3, 2017

Coastal Care Medical Center, Inc. (Taylor, Thomas) v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

Dawn M. Carsten successfully defeated the Plaintiff’s Motion to Enforce Settlement on behalf of State Farm. In this case, State Farm served a Proposal for Settlement pursuant to Florida Statute section 768.79. The Proposal for Settlement allocated a certain amount for PIP benefits and interest, and a certain amount for attorney’s fees and costs. Among other things, the Proposal for Settlement stated, “This offer for medical benefits and for attorney fees and costs is not severable.”

The Plaintiff then filed its “Written Notice of Acceptance of Defendant’s Proposal for Settlement to Plaintiff as to Benefits only,” and it attempted to reject the offer for attorney’s fees and costs. On behalf of State Farm, Dawn filed an Objection and Motion to Strike Plaintiff’s Acceptance, and the Plaintiff responded by filing a Motion to Enforce Settlement.

Dawn argued that the parties did not have a meeting of the minds as to the essential terms of State Farm’s Proposal for Settlement, especially since Florida courts still use the mirror image rule in contract law. She further argued that the Plaintiff’s attempt to partially accept only the benefits portion of the Proposal for Settlement served as a rejection of State Farm’s Proposal for Settlement and instead was a counteroffer State Farm could accept or reject.

The Court agreed with State Farm’s argument and found that the parties had not reached a settlement agreement. Therefore, the Plaintiff’s Motion to Enforce Settlement was denied, and the Defendant’s Motion to Strike Plaintiff’s Acceptance was granted.