Torts — Automobile accident — Proposal for settlement — Attorney’s fees — Insurance — Subrogation — Case involving plaintiffs’ purchase of defendant’s earlier-served, and subsequently rejected, proposals for settlement from defendant’s bankruptcy estate in an attempt to withdraw those proposals and avoid paying attorney’s fees and costs under section 768.79 — Jurisdiction — Court rejects argument that trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to determine, and invaded province of bankruptcy court by determining, that bankruptcy trustee’s sale of proposals for settlement was invalid — Trial court unquestionably had subject matter jurisdiction to rule on statutory and rule-based motion for attorney’s fees and costs — Discussion of differences between subject matter and “case jurisdiction” — Trial court possessed case jurisdiction to consider the validity of plaintiffs’ withdrawal of the proposals for settlement — Trial court properly declared plaintiffs’ notice of withdrawal of proposals for settlement to be a nullity and of no force and effect — Bankruptcy trustee could only sell whatever title and rights defendant had in the proposals for settlement, which is determined by Florida law — Because defendant’s insurer assumed defense of the tort action, insurer was subrogated to any right defendant had to recover litigation costs and attorney’s fees incurred and was the real party in interest as to the proposals for settlement — Having failed to possess the equitable interest in the proposals for settlement, plaintiffs did not have the power to withdraw them — Additionally, because the proposals were open for over thirty days without acceptance or written withdrawal of the offer by defendant, any purported withdrawal of the proposals after the expiration of the thirty-day period was a legal nullity and an event not contemplated by rule or statute — Moreover, the most reasonable interpretation of withdrawal provision of section 768.79 is that the withdrawal of an offer must be made by the offeror
45 Fla. L. Weekly D686a
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