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Court of Appeal Affirms Ruling That Plaintiff's Early Section 998 Offer Was Not Made in Good Faith

January 8, 2019

Licudine v. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
(Jan. 3, 2019, B286350) __ Cal.App.5th __ [2019 WL ________]

The Court of Appeal has held that for an offer of compromise under California Code of Civil Procedure section 998 to be valid, the offeror must know that the offeree has sufficient information to intelligently evaluate it. The court identified three “especially pertinent” factors relevant to determining whether the offeror could have had a good faith belief that its offer could be intelligently evaluated: “(1) how far into the litigation the 998 offer was made; (2) the information available to the offeree prior to the 998 offer’s expiration; and (3) whether the offeree let the offeror know it lacked sufficient information to evaluate the offer, and how the offeror responded.” Because all three factors showed that the plaintiff could not have had a good faith belief that the offer in this case could be intelligently evaluated, including the fact that the offer a was made only 5 days after the complaint was filed, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the offer was invalid.

Horvitz & Levy was appellate counsel for the defendant.

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For more information, please contact S. Thomas Todd and Emily V. Cuatto .

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