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Judgment (Nonetheless) Means Judgment: The Eleventh Circuit Extends McNamara to a Proposal for Settlement

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP not too long ago wrote concerning the Eleventh Circuit resolution in McNamara v. Gov’t Staff Ins. Co., 30 F.4th 1055 (eleventh Cir. 2022) (“McNamara”), the place the court docket held {that a} consensual settlement (reminiscent of a consent judgment) serves as an extra judgment for the needs of a unhealthy religion declare.  In a observe up resolution, the Eleventh Circuit prolonged its McNamara reasoning to a case involving an accepted proposal for settlement.  In Potter v. Progressive American Insurance coverage Firm, No. 21-11134 (eleventh Cir. 2022), Daniel Lee and Jolene Potter introduced a third-party unhealthy religion motion in opposition to the insurer, Progressive.  The Potters had been concerned in an car accident with Progressive’s insured, beneath an automotive legal responsibility coverage with bodily damage limits of $10,000 per particular person.  The Potters sued Progressive’s insured and in the end served a proposal for settlement, pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 768.79, totaling $125,000.  The insured accepted the proposal, a closing judgment was entered, and the Potters sued Progressive for unhealthy religion.

Within the unhealthy religion motion, the trial court docket granted abstract judgment in Progressive’s favor, citing to the subsequently overturned district court docket resolution in McNamara v. Gov’t Emps. Ins. Co., No. 8:17-CV-3060-T-23CPT, 2020 WL 5223634, at *3–4 (M.D. Fla. July 29, 2020), rev’d and remanded, 30 F.4th 1055 (eleventh Cir. 2022), which relied closely on the unpublished resolution in Cawthorn v. Auto-Homeowners Ins. Co., 791 F. App’x 60 (eleventh Cir. 2019) (holding that solely a verdict might fulfill the requirement of an extra judgment in a foul religion motion, precluding any actions that had been primarily based on a consensual settlement).  The trial court docket discovered that there was no extra judgment as a result of there was no judgment after trial.  On enchantment, the Eleventh Circuit reversed that ruling and reaffirmed its holding in McNamara that third-party unhealthy religion claims shouldn’t be restricted solely to judgments after an precise trial.  In reversing the trial court docket’s ruling, the Eleventh Circuit famous that the acceptance of a proposal for settlement and the next entry of a closing judgment that exceeded the coverage limits certified as an extra judgment.

Potter forecloses any argument {that a} consensual judgment, whether or not a consent judgment or by settlement, can’t be used as an extra judgment for functions of a foul religion declare.



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