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  • In Kuhajda v. Borden Dairy Co. of Al., LLC, SC15-1682, the Florida Supreme Court issued a decision holding that Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442 (c)(2)(F)’s provision requiring a proposal for settlement state “whether attorney’s fees are part of the legal claim” is procedural and “totally irrelevant” to enforcement when the complaint does not seek attorneys’ fees. The Supreme Court’s decision approves the Fourth District decision in Bennett v. American Learning Systems of Boca Delray, Inc., 857 So.2d 986 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), and quashes two First District Court of Appeal decisions: Borden Dairy Co. of Alabama, LLC v. Kuhajda, 171 So.3d 242 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015), and Colvin v. Clements & Ashmore, P.A., 182 So.2d 924 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016).
  • Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442 and section 768.79 Florida Statutes, govern service of proposals for settlement in Florida, and provide a means to obtain attorneys’ fees but, given their punitive effect, must be “strictly construed.” The Florida Supreme Court in Kuhajda, explained that rule is the procedural framework implementing the statute and, therefore, provisions which do not implement a substantive requirement of the statute need not be strictly construed. Therefore, when attorneys’ fees are not sought by a party in their pleadings, it is no longer necessary to include the language of Rule 1.442 (C)(2)(F), providing a proposal “state whether attorney’s fees are part of the legal claim. It is a logical ruling, but one that is significant given the overarching mantra that Rule 1.442 must be “strictly construed.”