Stallman v. Bell
California Court of Appeal
235 Cal. App. 3d 740, 286 Cal. Rptr. 755 (1991)
Ann Stallman and William Stallman, as administrator of the estate of Frank Stallman, (Stallmans) (plaintiffs) brought a wrongful-death action against Petal Pusher Flowers; Nelda Brennan; Pilar Aldapa, Jr.; and Elissa, Walter, and Lynn Bell (Bell) (defendants) after an automobile accident fatally injured Frank Stallman. The Stallmans made an offer to compromise of $225,000, “each side to bear its own costs.” The offer was not accepted. The case went to trial, and the Stallmans obtained a verdict of $224,500. The Stallmans submitted a bill for costs for expert-witness fees and prejudgment interest under California Code of Civil Procedure § 998(d) and § 3291. Bell contested the motion, arguing the joint offer was invalid and the Stallmans had not received a “more favorable judgment” as required by § 998. The Stallmans countered that the ordinary costs due to them as the prevailing parties must be added to the verdict to assess whether they had received a more favorable judgment, which in this case would put them over the amount of their offer. The trial court held that because the terms of the offer had each side bearing its own costs, the Stallmans could not add costs to the verdict, which fell short of their offer by $500. Nevertheless, the trial court allowed the Stallmans their expert-witness fees but denied prejudgment interest. Both sides appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Woods, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 705,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 705,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 44,300 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.