In almost every legal settlement, the plaintiff and defendant memorialize the terms and conditions of their agreement by signing a written settlement agreement. Often times, the agreement may be conditioned on certain releases being later executed and other conditions being met. Additionally, most settlement agreements provide for language in the event that one of the Parties does not comply with their obligations.
A recent case from the 4th District Court of Appeals addressed whether a settlement agreement still stands once it is breached or whether a "second bite of the apple" can be made allowing the Party to relitigate the initial personal injury or accident case.
In the case of Cirrus Design Corp v. Sasso, So.3d 37 FLW D1718 (Fla. 4th DCA 7-18-2012) the District Court of Appeals held that if a settlement offer clearly provides that acceptance constitutes full satisfaction of a tort dispute, the contract resulting from acceptance becomes an accord and immediate satisfaction of the tort claim, and the remedy for a subsequent breach of contract is governed by contract law.
The court specifically held that,
When a superseding agreement constitutes a satisfaction, a breach of the new agreement must be enforced by an action on that agreement based upon contract law.
This decision reiterates that Parties in personal injury or accident cases do not get a "second bite of the apple" if one Party breaches the settlement. Rather, the aggrieved Party must move to enforce the contract that was breached. To learn more, contact a Tampa personal injury attorney at our firm.