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Email: samuel@walkerappeals.com | Phone: (407) 647-7887

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Cassedy v. Wood

Proposals for Settlement
Cassedy v. Wood
44 Fla. L. Weekly D422a
First DCA; February 11, 2019

A landlord sued three joint tenants for breaching a lease.  The lease allwed attorneys fees to the prevailing party.  However, the landlord served each tenant with a proposal for settlement in the amount of $25,000, pursuant to Florida Statutes, §768.79.  The proposals were rejected, and the tenants were found jointly and severally liable for $83,000.  Did the trial court err in awarding the landlord attorney’s fees under the lease only, on the grounds that the landlord was only entitled to one attorney’s fees award?  Did the trial court err in awarding the landlord attorney’s fees under the lease only, on the grounds that the settlement proposal was unclear as to whether the amounts offered should be aggregated in determining whether the judgment is at least 25% greater than the amounts offered?

  • The First DCA said “yes” to both.
  • As to the lower court’s reasoning that the landlord was only entitled to one attorney’s fees award, contractual attorney’s fees are intended to make the prevailing party whole, but statutory attorney’s fees are intended to punish the losing party. Therefore, contractual and statutory attorney’s fees may be awarded simultaneously.
  • As to the lower court’s reasoning that the settlement proposal was unclear as to whether the settlement amounts should be aggregated, the Supreme Court has held that, under §768.79, separate settlement offers may not be aggregated when determining whether the judgment is at least 25% greater than the settlement offer.


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