Settlement Brochure, Ethics of

The Ethics of Settlement Brochure Recently trial attorneys representing Plaintiffs in personal injury cases have been using settlement brochures in an attempt to settle their cases. Settlement brochures are highly effective and clearly set out the entire matters under consideration for the opposing side to review and evaluate. The use of settlement brochures under Florida law is appropriate as long as the matter set forth therein accurately describe the status of the Plaintiff’s claim. The settlement brochure may not disclose confidential information, nor may it intentionally misstate the value of the case. Settlement brochures include candid discussions of liability, causation, and damages. These discussions are supported by witness statements, photographs depicting relevant scenes, products, injuries, the itemization of medical bills, the opinion of economists as to past and future economic damages, opinions of medical doctors and similar professionals establishing the extent of damages, and a demand for settlement consistent with the value of the case and the client’s interests. Before a settlement brochure is sent out, an attorney must be sure that he has settlement authority from the client so as to make sure that the case is not settled below what is expected and acceptable to the client. The parties have an obligation to convey all settlement offers even if they seem ridiculous to the attorney opposing the settlement offer. This is especially important if a demand for an Offer of Judgment is filed pursuant to Florida Statutes §768.79 is made. The reason this is important is because if the offer is not accepted and depending whether you are a Plaintiff or a Defendant in a case, judgment is entered 25% more or less than the offer, attorney’s fees and costs may be awarded against your client from the date that the Offer of Judgment or Demand for Judgment was made.