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Florida First DCA rules that proposal for settlement need not include provisions regarding attorney's fees and punitive damages if this relief is not sought in pleadings

On May 16, 2017, in Aguado v. Miller, No. 1D16-4589, the Florida First DCA reversed a trial court’s denial of the prevailing plaintiff’s motion for attorney’s fees based on an unaccepted proposal for settlement. The trial court had denied the motion on the basis that the proposal had failed to include provisions regarding attorney’s fees or punitive damages. The First DCA observed that the issue with regard to attorney’s fees had already been decided by the Florida Supreme Court in Kuhajda v. Borden Dairy Company of Alabama, LLC, 202 So. 3d 391 (Fla. 2016), in which the Court concluded that where the pleadings had not alleged any entitlement to attorney’s fees, it made no sense to require the proposal for settlement to address it. The Court also cited a previous Second DCA decision to the same effect with regard to the issue of punitive damages, Lucas v. Calhoun, 813 So. 2d 971, 973 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002).

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