39 Fla. L. Weekly D498a
Defendant’s proposal which offers to pay plaintiff $100 to settle action
“payable within ten (10) days of entry of the Order of Dismissal with
Prejudice,” is not ambiguous — If plaintiff had accepted proposal and defendant
had failed to pay the $100, trial court would have had jurisdiction to enforce
NICKOLAS EKONOMIDES, Appellant, v. JEANNE ABOU SHARAKA, DIAMOND GIFTS, E
& A, INC., and ELIAS ANASTASOPOULOS, Appellees. 2nd District. Case No.
2D13-272. Opinion filed March 5, 2014. Appeal from the Circuit Court for
Pinellas County; John A. Schaefer, Judge. Counsel: Nickolas Ekonomides, pro se.
David E. Platte of David E. Platte, P.A., Clearwater, for Appellee Jeanne Abou
Sharaka. No appearance for remaining Appellees.
Abou Sharaka (the Tenant), Nickolas Ekonomides appeals a final order denying
entitlement to attorney’s fees on the basis that paragraph four of his proposal
for settlement is ambiguous. We conclude that the subject paragraph is not
ambiguous and reverse. We have also reversed the final summary judgment that was
entered in Ekonomides’ favor in Abou Sharaka v. E & A, Inc., No.
2D12-4118 (Fla. 2d DCA Mar. 5, 2014) [39 Fla. L. Weekly D496b]. Thus, the issue
of whether Ekonomides is entitled to recover fees must await resolution of the
malicious prosecution action.
seeks fees under his proposal for settlement, the proposal will have to be
evaluated in light of our determination that paragraph four of the proposal is
not ambiguous. Paragraph four offers to pay the Tenant $100 to settle this
action, “payable within ten (10) days of entry of the Order of Dismissal with
Prejudice.” The Tenant argued, among other things, that paragraph four is
ambiguous because the offer makes an illusory promise to pay only after the case
is dismissed with prejudice. According to the Tenant, if Ekonomides fails to pay
the $100, the trial court would not have jurisdiction to enforce the settlement
agreement after entry of a final order of dismissal. The trial court concluded
that paragraph four is ambiguous because the Tenant “shouldn’t have to guess as
to whether” she would collect after dismissal of the case.
trial court would have continuing jurisdiction to enforce the settlement, had
the proposal been accepted. Pursuant to the offer of judgment statute, “[u]pon
filing of both the offer and acceptance, the court has full jurisdiction to
enforce the settlement agreement.” § 768.79(4), Fla. Stat. (2011); see
also Mady v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 59 So. 3d 1129, 1133 (Fla. 2011)
(stating that “a settlement produced pursuant to Florida’s offer of
judgment statute is subject to that court’s full continuing jurisdiction
thereafter”). Thus, if the Tenant had accepted the proposal and Ekonomides
had failed to pay the $100, the trial court would have had jurisdiction to
enforce the settlement agreement.
that the proposal state all conditions and nonmonetary terms with particularity.
See Tran v. Anvil Iron Works, Inc., 110 So. 3d 923, 925 (Fla. 2d
DCA 2013) (recognizing that the rule “ ‘merely requires that the settlement
proposal be sufficiently clear and definite to allow the offeree to make an
informed decision without needing clarification’ ” (quoting State Farm Mut.
Auto. Ins. Co. v. Nichols, 932 So. 2d 1067, 1079 (Fla. 2006))). An ambiguous
proposal is unenforceable. Id. at 926. In the context of the requirement
for particularity, “an ambiguity is defined as ‘the condition of admitting more
than one meaning.’ ” Id. (quoting Mix v. Adventist Health
Sys./Sunbelt, Inc., 67 So. 3d 289, 292 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011)). The condition
that the Tenant contends is ambiguous has only one meaning. Paragraph four
provides that Ekonomides would pay the Tenant $100 within ten days of entry of
the order of dismissal with prejudice. The fact that she was concerned that
Ekonomides might breach the agreement and fail to pay does not make the proposal
fees and remand for further proceedings.
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