Sacramento Car Accident Defendant Fights Litigation Costs After Losing At Trial, Part 7 of 7

The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident case and its proceedings.)

CCP 998(c)(2)(A) deals with the situation where a defendant’s 998 offer to compromise is not accepted by a plaintiff and that plaintiff does not obtain a more favorable award than the defendant’s 998 offer to compromise. In this situation CCP 998(c)(2)(A) states, [i]n determining whether the plaintiff obtains a more favorable judgment, the court or arbitrator shall exclude the post-offer costs. The court in Bennett v. Brown (1963) 212 Cal.App.2d 685 explained the rationale for this rule excluding plaintiff’s post offer costs when determining if their award is more favorable than the defendant’s 998 offer. To hold otherwise would enable plaintiff to dramatically increase its postoffer cost for the sole purpose of increasing the likelihood that its final judgment would exceed defendant’s offer. Bennett v. Brown, supra, 212 Cal.App.2d at p. 688.

As previously discussed, this case is distinct from the situation in Bennet. In this case, the plaintiff’s 998 offer to compromise was rejected by the defendants. Therefore the Bennet rationale does not apply. Moreover, there is nothing in CCP 998 that excludes postoffer costs in situations where a plaintiff’s offer is not accepted by the defendants. CCP 998 provides the following for these situations:

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

(d) If an offer made by a plaintiff is not accepted and the defendant fails to obtain a more favorable judgment or award in any action or proceeding other than an eminent domain action, the court or arbitrator, in its discretion, may require the defendant to pay a reasonable sum to cover postoffer costs of the services of expert witnesses, who are not regular employees of any party, actually incurred and reasonably necessary in either, or both, preparation for trial or arbitration, or during trial or arbitration, of the case by the plaintiff, in addition to plaintiff’s costs.CCP 998(d). Nothing in the plain language of this statute limits plaintiffs to only preoffer costs. The language explicitly excluding postoffer costs only occurs in the section CCP(c)(2)(A) which relates only to offers made by defendants that are not accepted by plaintiffs. CCP(c)(2)(A). It is clear that the legislature did not intend to limit plaintiffs in situations where a defendant rejected a plaintiff’s 998 offer.

Accordingly, to determine if the defendants failed to obtain a more favorable judgment, Ms. Hills jury verdict award should be added to her recoverable costs. This amount is $20,590.06; far above Ms. Hills $18,000 998 offer.


Ms. Hill is the prevailing party. She recovered a jury verdict which was only $ 1550 less than hersection 998 offer. All of the costs included in Ms. Hill motion for costs are recoverable by statute. Ms. Hill had economic damages over $25,000 when she filed her case which is why she filed in unlimited jurisdiction. Ms. Hill’s costs would have been virtually the sam had she filed in limited jurisdiction and therefore, this court should award Ms. Hill all of her costs. Since the total of Ms. Hill’s recoverable costs and her jury verdict exceed her 998 offer, Ms. Hill is entitled to recover the expert fees and costs she incurred after making her 998 offer.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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