August 19, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: Summary Judgment That Resolves All Issues Does Not Terminate Accepted Settlement Agreement

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Rose v. Atkinson on April 26, 2012.

Enforcement of Settlement Agreement—Summary Judgment Does Not Terminate Settlement Offer.

Defendant Lynn Atkinson appealed the trial court’s order enforcing the settlement agreement she entered into with plaintiff Kristine Rost on her minor daughter’s behalf. The order was affirmed.

Plaintiff sued defendant for injuries her daughter sustained on defendant’s property. Defendant served plaintiff with a statutory settlement offer. The next day, the court issued an order granting summary judgment for defendant, resolving all issues in the case. Plaintiff accepted the settlement offer after receiving notice of the summary judgment order. Later that same day, defendant e-mailed plaintiff’s counsel and withdrew the settlement offer. The court rejected defendant’s argument that the summary judgment order terminated the settlement offer and entered an order enforcing the settlement agreement.

Defendant contended that the court erred in enforcing the settlement agreement because the entry of summary judgment in her favor nullified the settlement offer before she accepted it. A summary judgment order resolving all issues in a case does not terminate a valid statutory settlement offer. Only two conditions terminate a valid settlement offer under CRS §13-17-202(1)(a): (1) the offer’s withdrawal, or (2) expiration of the fourteen-day period. Here, neither condition occurred before plaintiff’s acceptance, and the offer therefore became a binding settlement agreement once plaintiff accepted it. Accordingly, the court did not err in enforcing such an agreement.

Summary and full case available here.

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