January 18, 2024

Kelley Kronenberg’s Calculated Strategy Results in Settlement for Fraction of the Demand

Kelley Kronenberg Partner, Catherine Arpen, secured a victory in a recent case in which our clients faced a negligence claim when the plaintiff slipped and fell in a marked pedestrian pathway outside a tire store in Hillsborough County. The plaintiff alleged negligence in maintaining the location, citing a transitory foreign substance as the cause.  

Facing exposure exceeding $400K, Catherine strategically filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (MSJ) after the plaintiff’s deposition, attaching the transcript. At mediation, the plaintiff was unwavering in his position on the claim’s value, while Catherine held firm at a sum equivalent to 1/16 of the demand, denying liability completely. Simultaneously, Catherine filed a Proposal for Settlement (PFS), reinforcing her position.  

The turning point came when, just before the PFS expired, Catherine strategically filed a Motion for the Retroactivity of House Bill 837 (due to the plaintiff’s Medicare age), a compulsory medical exam, and attempted to set the MSJ for a hearing. As the PFS deadline neared, the plaintiff’s counsel reduced the demand to a sum that doubled our offer, and before Catherine could reply, the plaintiff accepted the sum outlined in the PFS.  

The case highlighted the importance of timing and strategic legal maneuvers. Specifically, we must thank the claims adjuster for authorizing aggressive actions post-mediation, specifically the Motion for Retroactivity of House Bill 837 and the Compulsory Medical Exam, which influenced the plaintiff’s reconsideration. This strategy resulted in finalizing this matter for pennies on the dollar.