TIME LIMITED DEMANDS
Anderson v. Jones (10/3/22)
by Chelsea Cooke
Holding: Court of Appeals vacated and remanded the case on a denial of defendant’s motion to enforce, holding that the plain language of O.C.G.A. § 9-11-67.1(c) allowed 30 days to accept an offer of settlement, and that the plaintiff’s demand contained conditions that were less than the 30 day deadline.
- “Any offer to settle must include (1) The time period within which such offer must be accepted, which shall be not less than 30 days from receipt of the offer; (2) Amount of monetary payment; (3) The party or parties the claimant or claimants will release if such offer is accepted; (4) The type of release, if any, the claimant or claimants will provide to each releasee; and (5) The claims to be released.”
- “Although the statute requires inclusion of these five specific items, nothing in the statute precludes the parties from adding other demands. OCGA § 9-11-67.1 (c) (“Nothing in this Code section is intended to prohibit parties from reaching a settlement agreement in a manner and under terms otherwise agreeable to the parties.”), Nevertheless, those additional demands “[do] not take the offer beyond subsection (a)’s scope.” Thus, under the plain language of subsection (a), the minimum amount of time in which the offeror may demand acceptance is 30 days, and this time period applies to any other condition of acceptance, including those [plaintiff] demanded. To hold otherwise would essentially render the 30-day period in OCGA § 9-11-67.1 (a) meaningless.”