Florida’s Offer of Settlement Statute: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know

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As an entrepreneur in Florida, it’s essential to understand the legal landscape surrounding your business. One important aspect of Florida law is Section 45.061, known as the Offer of Settlement statute. This statute can have significant implications for your business if you find yourself in a legal dispute. In this blog post, we’ll break down the key provisions of Section 45.061 and discuss how they can impact entrepreneurs.

What is the Offer of Settlement Statute?

Section 45.061 provides a way for parties in a legal dispute to settle their claims without going to trial. The statute allows any party to serve a written offer to settle a claim on an adverse party, as long as it is done within the specified timeframe – more than 60 days after the service of a summons and complaint, and not less than 60 days (or 45 days for a counteroffer) before trial.

How Does the Offer of Settlement Process Work?

When a party makes an offer under Section 45.061, it must specify the money, property, or relief being offered. The offer remains open for 45 days unless withdrawn in writing. If the offer is not accepted within 45 days, it is considered rejected. However, if the court later finds that the rejection was unreasonable and led to unnecessary delay and increased litigation costs, it may impose sanctions on the rejecting party.

What Factors Does the Court Consider When Imposing Sanctions?

The court will consider several factors when determining whether to impose sanctions,

  1. Whether the offeror unreasonably refused to provide necessary information to evaluate the
    offer’s reasonableness.
  2. Whether the case presented questions of far-reaching importance affecting nonparties. The statute also presumes an unreasonable rejection if the judgment entered is at least 25 percent greater (for defendants) or 25 percent less (for plaintiffs) than the rejected offer.

What Sanctions Can the Court Impose?

If the court decides to impose sanctions, it will award costs, expenses, and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred after the offer was made. Additionally, the court may award the statutory interest rate on the amount offered.

Exceptions and Limitations
Entrepreneurs should be aware that Section 45.061 does not apply to all types of legal disputes. The statute does not cover class actions, shareholder derivative suits, or matters related to dissolution of marriage, alimony, nonsupport, eminent domain, or child custody. Furthermore, the statute does not waive the limits of sovereign immunity.

Protecting Your Business Interests
As an entrepreneur, it’s crucial to work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the complexities of Florida’s legal system. By understanding the implications of Section 45.061 and how it can affect your business, you can make informed decisions and protect your interests in the event of a legal dispute.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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Eric Gros-Dubois

Founding partner Eric Gros-Dubois established EPGD Business Law in 2013. With over a decade of experience expanding the firm and leading it to its current success, Eric now primarily manages the corporate division of EPGD. Given Eric’s educational background, holding both a JD and MBA, combined with his own unique experience of starting a business from scratch and growing it to a multi-million dollar firm, he brings a specialized and invaluable perspective to those seeking legal assistance for themselves and their businesses. Having now instilled his same values in our team of skilled corporate associates, Eric leads a firm that is always ready, willing, and equipped to handle any and every legal matter that a business owner may have.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.



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