New decision on costs and effects of rejection of CCP 998 offer

The Court of Appeals denied the challenge to the trial court’s award of costs finding that plaintiff’s pursuit of action in multiple capacities—individually, as successor-in-interest to her deceased husband, and as his legal heir—did not make her “multiple plaintiffs” for purposes of determining the validity of a settlement offer under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 998, so single offer to plaintiff was valid. Trial court’s failure to consider the parties’ relative economic resources in deciding whether cost award under Sec. 998 was reasonable did not render the award an abuse of discretion where plaintiff did not raise the issue in trial court, there was no indication that plaintiff actually lacked the financial ability to pay the costs claimed by plaintiff or that they constituted an unduly powerful settlement incentive to a litigant of plaintiff’s means, and plaintiff did not establish that the amount of the award was excessive.

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