Cost Shifting is Proper Where Defendant's Section 998 Offer Was Reasonable as a Matter of Law

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In Adams v. Ford Motor Co., 2011 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7411 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. Sept. 29, 2011), the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District decided an important case arising under the cost shifting provisions of California Code of Civil Procedure § 998. This is the so called “offer of judgment” statute. The case arose out of a wrongful death claim against Ford Motor Co. (“Ford”).

The decedent allegedly performed regular maintenance on his vehicles. Five of the cars were manufactured by Ford. He contracted mesothelioma and passed away. His wife and their three children sued Ford. The plaintiffs argued that Ford’s products caused the decedent’s exposure to asbestos.

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