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Civil Procedure

Although created to encourage settlement, few rules have generated more collateral litigation than Florida’s proposals for settlement provisions. While Florida Statutes section 768.79 creates a substantive right to attorney’s fees, Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442 provides a procedural enforcement mechanism. However, through its unprecedented application of strict construction to a rule of civil procedure, the Florida Supreme Court has arguably made it more difficult to accomplish settlement by adding new requirements for valid proposals. Thus, with collateral litigation looming over proposals for settlement, burdening court dockets, and costing parties additional time and expense, now is the time to realign the court’s interpretation of Rule 1.442 with the legislature’s intent to facilitate settlements.