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Florida’s Supreme Court finds motions to enlarge do not toll the time to respond unless cause is established.

July 1, 2018
Koppel v. Laura Ochoa, et al., 43 Fla. L. Weekly S225a (Fla. May 17, 2018)

Twenty-nine days after the plaintiff served a proposal for settlement, the defendant filed a motion for enlargement to respond, arguing she did not have the opportunity to review the offer in light of new medical information disclosed by the plaintiff. Before the trial court ruled on the motion for enlargement, but after the 30 days to accept had expired, the defendant accepted the proposal for settlement. The plaintiff then moved to strike the acceptance as untimely. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for enlargement. The district court reversed, finding that rules 1.090 and 1.442 were clear and could not be construed to provide for tolling once a motion to enlarge had been filed.

On appeal, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s ruling and stated that, although Rule 1.090 allows for the time period set forth in Rule 1.442 to be enlarged, the trial court has discretion with respect to whether to grant a motion to enlarge. The rule only provides for additional time once cause has been shown. As the court discussed, allowing the time period to be tolled simply by filing a motion to enlarge would provide an automatic period of enlargement and would undermine the rule as written.

This case provides clarification that, generally, motions to enlarge do not toll the time to respond unless cause is established. As such, before filing a motion to enlarge time to respond to a proposal for settlement, or any motion to enlarge time, consider whether cause for an extension of time can be shown. 


Case Law Alerts, 3rd Quarter, July 2018

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