Insurer is Entitled to a Set-Off for Sanctions
Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company v. Voight, 21 So. 3d (Fla. 2d DCA 2009). The plaintiff (claimant) in an uninsured motorist claim obtained a judgment against the UM carrier following a motor vehicle crash. After the trial, the plaintiff sought to enforce an incorrect judgment. Nationwide responded with a section 57.105 motion, requesting withdrawal of the motion or risk sanctions if the judge granted the motion. The plaintiff chose to go forward anyway risking attorney fees and costs. Ultimately, the judge found against the plaintiff and assessed $23,021.60 against the plaintiff. The issue for appeal was whether the sanctions against the plaintiff should be "set off" against the plaintiff's recovery or whether there should be two separate and possibly unequally enforceable judgments. The court held that there should be a single "net" judgment where the plaintiff receives the awarded amount against the UM carrier minus the sanctions.
The lesson to be learned is that the court system can be a harsh place and has real consequences. Actions in court should be well considered by the parties and their attorneys. Clients, in turn, should listen to the advice of counsel regarding the risks of taking certain actions in court. The lawyers at Moody Law have experience in negotiating the pitfalls of car crash claims. If you have a situation that you are unsure of what course of action you should take on your auto accident case, please consult an attorney from Moody Law.