Two individuals died in a fire in rental housing. The two sets of heirs brought a single suit against the owner of the housing. The two sets of heirs made a joint 998 offer to the defendant which he refused. This decision holds that the joint offer was valid and so the trial court properly awarded the plaintiffs enhanced costs under Code of Civil Procedure 998. Not all joint offers by multiple plaintiffs are invalid. Here, one set of heirs recovered well more than the joint settlement offer, so it was clear that the offer was reasonable and wrongly refused. The defendant could easily assess the total combined likely recovery and compare it with the joint 998 offer.
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Three (Lavin, J.); February 1, 2018; 2018 WL 654846.