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Settlement Offer Under Section 998 Automatically Expires If Judge Grants Summary Judgment

Tim Kowal     November 28, 2022

CEB has published my article, “Settlement Offer Under Section 998 Automatically Expires If Judge Grants Summary Judgment,” originally published here.

The article may be cited as

Tim Kowal, “Settlement Offer Under Section 998 Automatically Expires If Judge Grants Summary Judgment,” CEB (Nov. 15, 2022), available at http://bit.ly/3ATYO9Q

A PDF of the article is here: Kowal_Section998.pdf

The article covers Trujillo v. City of Los Angeles (D2d1 Oct. 27, 2022 No. B314042) -- Cal.Rptr.3d -- (2022 WL 15119812), a case about accepting a Code of Civil Procedure section 998 offer of compromise. The court held the acceptance was not valid because, even though it was within the statutory 30 days, the acceptance came after the trial court had already granted summary judgment.

I note several odd things about the decision and the reasoning, including why the court drew the line at oral rulings on summary judgment, but would allow a plaintiff to accept a 998 offer after a tentative ruling.

And as covered on episode 61 of the California Appellate Law Podcast, cases interpreting FRCP 68, the federal analog to section 998, have come out the opposite way.

Tim Kowal is an appellate specialist certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Tim helps trial attorneys and clients win their cases and avoid error on appeal. He co-hosts the Cal. Appellate Law Podcast at CALpodcast.com, and publishes summaries of cases and appellate tips for trial attorneys. Contact Tim at [email protected] or (949) 676-9989.
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