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Florida Second DCA rules that PIP defendant’s offer of judgment in the amount of one dollar was valid good faith offer because of controlling legal precedent in its favor on dispositive legal issue

On March 2, 2022, in Progressive Select Insurance Company v. Kagan Jugan& Associates, P.A., No. 2D21-274, the Florida Second DCA reversed a trial court order which had denied a prevailing defendant in a PIP case its claim for attorney’s fees and costs under Florida’s proposal for settlement/offer of judgment statute, § 768.79. The defendant insurance company had served an offer of judgment on the plaintiff in the amount of one dollar, which was not accepted by the plaintiff, after which the trial court had granted summary judgment for the defendant in accordance with binding precedent previously rendered by the Second DCA in State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. MRI Associates of Tampa, Inc., 252 So. 3d 773 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018). The defendant maintained that the controlling precedent established the good faith nature of their nominal settlement offer, but the plaintiff convinced the trial court otherwise because State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. MRI Associates of Tampa, Inc., had been appealed and was still pending before the Florida Supreme Court at the time that that offer was made. The Second DCA disagreed, concluding that the defendant’s offer reflected its legally correct belief that it was not liable.

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