legal fees

Statutory Offers to Compromise: Joint Offers

By on June 18, 2014 - Comments off

McDaniel v. Asuncion (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 1201, 155 Cal.Rptr.3d 71

The wife and daughter of a man who was killed in a multiple vehicle accident brought an action for wrongful death against multiple defendants.  A jury returned a verdict in their favor against one defendant, but returned a defense verdict as to the only remaining defendant. The prevailing defendant filed a memorandum of costs to recover over $40,000 in expert witness fees, based upon the plaintiffs failure to obtain an award more favorable than a pretrial offer to compromise pursuant to C.C.P. § 998.

The trial court awarded the expert fees as requested, and the plaintiffs appealed, contending that the offer was void as a matter of law because it was made jointly as a single offer to two plaintiffs. The court of appeal reversed, holding that “although joint offers may be invalid… there is little, if any, justification for invalidating a joint offer in a wrongful death case”: Read the rest »