Offers of judgment; costs. (HB310)

Introduced By

Del. John O'Bannon (R-Richmond)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Offers of judgment; costs.  Provides that a party defending a claim may serve upon an adverse party not less than 10 days before trial an offer to allow judgment to be taken against him on specified terms, including the costs then accrued. An offer of judgment may also be made by a party whose liability to another has been determined, but where the extent of his liability is to be determined in a subsequent proceeding. If the offer is accepted, the court shall enter the judgment. If the offer is not accepted, and the adverse party does not obtain a judgment more favorable than the offer, the adverse party shall pay all costs incurred from the time of the offer. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/11/2010Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/10 10101449D
01/11/2010Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/15/2010Assigned Courts sub: Civil
02/03/2010Continued to 2011 in Courts of Justice


Rob Stoney writes:

The concept is okay, but the problem with this bill is its unevenness. It only allows the defense to make an offer and only shifts costs to the plaintiff. A better bill might allow either party to offer judgment and provide consequences to both. If the D makes an offer and the jury comes back at more than say 25% above the offer, D pays costs - if it comes 25% or more below the offer, P pays costs. If P makes an offer and the verdict comes in 25% below the offer of settlement, P pays costs and if 25% above the offer, D pays costs.

I would also exclude attorney's fees from the the definition of costs but include all types of hard costs (expert fees, depositions, etc) as recoverable costs.

The American rule works well and should not be eroded, but costs are a serious enough stick to create an incentive to settle