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998 Offer

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Unlike the FEHA, the Song-Beverly Act's one-sided attorney fee and cost clause does not expressly exempt Song-Beverly fee and cost awards from CCP 998's fee and cost shifting framework when the plaintiff does not accept the 998 offer and later recovers less than that offer.  Hence, CCP 998 applies to Song-Beverly Act claims. Section 998 aoplies even when the lawsuit… Read More

Corona's 998 offer was not ambiguous.  Though the City had received two public records requests for the same information and had voluntarily given the information to the other requester, not Kinney, the City's 998 offer was unambiguous in offering to give the requested information to Kinney (plus $2,500 in attorney fees) in return for dismissal of the action.  Kinney obtained… Read More

Plaintiff recovered less than defendant's 998 offer.  The trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding defendant (a) $12,000 for an expert witness' two days of trial testimony, and (b) $6,000 in court reporter fees for real-time transcription of the trial proceedings. Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding HSBC its full expert witness fees incurred after rejection of its 998 offer.  The expert's testimony was used at trial.  His travel and meal expenses were also properly awarded as he came from Georgia to testify.  The trial court also did not abuse its discretion in declining to reduce the… Read More

A 998 offer that began by reciting that it was an offer to settle all claims in "the above action" was not ambiguous in thereafter providing as a term of the offer that plaintiff will dismiss the action and "release HSBC of all liability to Plaintiff."  The quoted phrase clearly related only to claims alleged in the action, not to… Read More

In this case, plaintiff obtained a UIM arbitration award for the entire $1 million umbrella policy limit due to emotional distress plaintiff suffered from seeing the underinsured motorist hit her mother who was crossing the street with her.  Before the arbitration award, plaintiff made a 998 offer for a penny less than the umbrella policy limits, which the insurer refused. … Read More

While a valid 998 offer may contain a demand for release of the claims sued upon, this 998 offer included a demand for a settlement agreement that was not attached to the 998 offer or described in detail (only some of its potential terms were mentioned) in the 998 offer.  Hence, the trial court correctly concluded that the offer was… Read More

A "conditional acceptance" of a 998 offer is ineffective to become on enforceable settlement under CCP 998, although it may become a settlement upon the original offeror's acceptance of the other party's counteroffer.  Here, Sutter's 998 offer was $500,000.  Plaintiff's "conditional acceptance" added three terms for the court to "clarify" including whether prejudgment interest was owed on the $500,000.  The… Read More

Following Duale v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 718, this decision holds that a valid and reasonable section 998 offer by the seller, where the buyer recovers less than the offer, precludes recovery by the buyer of post-offer attorneys’ fees and costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 1794(d) of the Song-Beverly Warranty Act claim.  Here, the defendant's initial… Read More

Plaintiff recovered a $115,000 jury verdict after having rejected defendant's $200,000 998 offer.  This decision holds that the defendant's post-offer costs awarded by the trial court under CCP 998 must be subtracted from the $115,000 jury verdict before computing the amount of the judgment payable to the workers' comp. lienor under Lab. Code 3856.  Since the post-offer costs exceeded $115,000,… Read More

Defendant's $200,000 998 offer was clear, not ambiguous, and was enforceable when plaintiff recovered less than $200,000--even though the offer did not refer to the workers’ compensation lien and state whether settlement proceeds could be used to recoup the lien.  Absence of a reference to the workers' comp. lien didn't render the offer uncertain or invalid.  A party making a… Read More

Labor Code 206 and 206.5 require an employer to pay an employee all wages the employer concedes are due without condition and without any release of the employee's disputed claims, if any, to other wages.  Here, the employer conceded it owed plaintiff a bonus, but before paying it sent the plaintiff a 998 offer to settle all wage claims.  Held,… Read More

Term of 998 offer requiring plaintiff to indemnify defendant against claims by third parties on the same allegations as the complaint rendered the 998 offer ineffective to shift costs after defendant was dismissed from the action.  Though it was understandable that defendant wanted preclude wrongful death claims by heirs of the plaintiff who claimed defendant was liable for his mesothelium… Read More

BMW sent plaintiff a 998 offer, proposing to settle this personal injury case for $15,000 in exchange for a general release.  The 998 offer did not mention entry of judgment against BMW or specify that plaintiff would file a dismissal with prejudice instead.  Plaintiff accepted the offer.  Then the parties disagreed about terms of the release and entry of judgment. … Read More