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Proposal For Settlements: Will Asking The Court For An Extension For Time Enlarge The Time Period To Accept?

Justice.jpgIn Ochoa v. Koppel, __ So. 3d __, 2016 WL 2941099 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016), Florida's Second District Court of Appeal addressed whether filing a motion seeking to enlarge time to accept a proposal for settlement in a car accident claim would stop the 30-day period for accepting the proposal until the court decides the motion. In the underlying case, Ochoa had filed a proposal for settlement and one day prior to the 30-day period to accept the proposal expired, Koppel filed a motion seeking to lengthen the time in which to respond to the proposal. The hearing on the motion did not occur until two months later and after the hearing, (before the trial court rendered a decision on the motion) Koppel accepted Ochoa's proposal for settlement. Ochoa asked the court to dismiss the acceptance as untimely. The trial court agreed with Koppel, finding that "her filing of a motion to enlarge time under rule 1.090 tolled the thirty-day period in which she was authorized to accept the proposal," and it granted her motion to enforce settlement. Ochoa appealed, arguing that the filing of a rule 1.090 motion to enlarge the time to accept a proposal for settlement does not toll the 30-day period for accepting the proposal until the court decides the motion. The appellate court agreed, reversed, and certified conflict with Goldy v. Corbett Cranes Services, Inc., 692 So. 2d 225 (Fla. 5th DCA 1997).

Tobacco Company Burned in a $46.5 Million Settlement

A settlement of $46.5 million is what a Fort Lauderdale couple just received from a Broward Circuit Court jury after they sued R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease after Tom Ryan smoked for years. The verdict broke down as such: $25 million in punitive damages and $21.5 million in compensatory damages ($16.5 million to Ryan and $5 million to his wife). I expect the Ryans were quite surprised with the verdict as the Ryans' attorneys requested $20 million in compensatory damages in closing argument. 


Have you been injured in an accident? Is an insurance company pressuring you to settle your claim? Many people find themselves facing these questions and others. Injured victims often describe a sense of urgency to make a decision about the settlement of their claim. This feeling that you experience is often created by an insurance adjuster. Adjusters will often pressure you to make quick decisions soon after an accident or before you have completed your treatment. Many people find that without the help of an attorney they will accept less money and still face ongoing medical problems. The insurance company is not your friend during this process, although many of their advertisements on TV paint this picture. The adjuster will initially sound sympathetic, and show concern about your well being, but does that individual or the company they represent truly have your best interest in mind OR are they more concerned about the bottom dollar and the insurance company's yearly profit margin.


We often notice the distracted driver who is having a heated conversation on the phone, texting their friends, or (as crazy as it may be) updating their Facebook page. They are doing all of these things instead of paying attention to the road and what is going on around them. This creates a very dangerous situation on our roads and highways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2008 that driver distraction was the cause of 16 percent of all fatal crashes-5,800 people killed, and 21 percent of crashes resulting in an injury. The NHTSA reported that text messaging was associated with the highest level of distraction potential. Ironically, 95 percent of drivers state that texting while driving is unacceptable, but over 50 percent admitted to doing it anyway.

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Our legal team consists of attorney Wm. Dennis Brannon and his son C. Paul Brannon. We work together as a father and son team to provide our clients with exceptional service and solutions in motor vehicle accident claims and other personal injury matters.

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