27th Avenue Gulf Service Center v. Smellie
Florida District Court of Appeal
510 So. 2d 996 (1987)
A tow truck owned by 27th Avenue Gulf Service Center (Gulf) (defendant) collided with a van driven by Winston Smellie (defendant) and owned by Enid Smellie (defendant). The van then struck a car driven by Wilfred Gibson (plaintiff). It was agreed that Gibson was without fault. Gulf was insured under a $300,000 liability policy. Enid was insured under a $10,000 policy. Gibson filed a lawsuit in trial court against Winston and Gulf. Gulf then filed a third-party complaint against Enid. Prior to trial, Gibson and Gulf entered into a high-low settlement agreement that provided for a $100,000 minimum guarantee and a $300,000 maximum, depending on the trial verdict. The settlement agreement was admitted into evidence. Throughout the trial, Winston, Enid, and their insurer referred to the settlement agreement between Gibson and Gulf as a secret deal, an unsavory agreement, and an attempt to limit Gulf’s liability to create an unfair advantage in the lawsuit. The jury returned a verdict against Gulf for $600,000 and in favor of Winston and Enid. Pursuant to the settlement agreement and Gulf’s policy limits, the verdict left Gibson with an uncollectible judgment for $300,000. Gibson and Gulf appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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