Construction defect lawsuits can be complex multi-party disputes, especially when the plaintiff is doing what is necessary to maximize recovery. This means the plaintiff may sue multiple defendants associated with the defects and damage. For example, the owner (e.g., plaintiff) may sue the contractor, subcontractors, design professionals, etc. due to the magnitude of the damages. In many instances, the plaintiff is suing multiple defendants for overlapping damages. The law prohibits a plaintiff from double-recovering for the same damages prohibiting the windfall of a plaintiff recovering twice for the same damages. Perhaps this sentiment is straight common sense, but this sentiment is a very important consideration when it comes to settling with one or more of the defendants, while potentially trying the construction defect case as to remaining defendants. Analysis and strategy is involved when settling with some but not all of the defendants in a construction defect case (and, really, for any type of case). Time must be devoted to crafting specific language in the settlement agreements to deal with this issue. Otherwise, the settlement(s) could be set-off from the damage awarded against the remaining defendants.
The recent decision in Addison Construction Corp. v. Vecellio, 43 Fla.L.Weekly D625(a) (Fla. 4th DCA 2018) details the analysis and strategy required when settling with some but not all of the defendants in a construction defect case, and the concern associated with a trial court setting-off the settlement amount from the damage awarded against the remaining defendants.