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T.M. Cobb Co. v. Superior Court

California Supreme Court
682 P.2d 338 (1984)


Facts

Sherre Sturm and William Conrow (plaintiffs) sued T.M. Cobb Company, Inc. (Cobb) (defendant) for negligent design and construction of the plaintiffs’ home. Cobb had manufactured and supplied sash and glass for the windows used in the home’s construction. However, extensive leaks had developed in and around the windows. Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 998, the plaintiffs sent Cobb what is called a statutory offer to compromise or a § 998 offer. In this § 998 offer, the plaintiffs offered to settle the lawsuit for $10,000. During the following few weeks, deposition testimony revealed that Cobb might be considerably more blameworthy than the plaintiffs had previously realized. The plaintiffs then wrote a letter revoking their previous offer. Cobb received the letter, but Cobb replied by stating that it was accepting the offer. Cobb then filed an acceptance in the trial court. The plaintiffs filed a motion to strike the acceptance. The trial court granted the motion and struck Cobb’s acceptance of the § 998 settlement offer. Cobb sought review of the order.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Bird, C.J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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Dissent (Broussard, J.)

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