Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Interpretation of Settlement Agreements

In Prestige Valet, Inc. v. Mendel (2D08-41), the Second District "reverse[d] and conclude[d] the trial court erred in requiring Prestige to file a motion to set aside a codefendant's settlement agreement as a condition precedent to granting the motion to set aside the Prestige-Mendel agreement, because each agreement constituted a separate and distinct contract." The court stated:

Settlement agreements are highly favored by the law and are construed following principles of contract interpretation...The contracting parties' intent is determined from within the four corners of the document and construed in accordance with the agreement's plain meaning..."It is never the role of a trial court to rewrite a contract to make it more reasonable for one of the parties or to relieve a party from what turns out to be a bad bargain."


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