In lawsuits involving multiple defendants, it is not unusual for the plaintiff to settle with one or more of the defendants as the lawsuit progresses. If, after a hearing, the court determines that such a settlement was made in good faith, a settling defendant is exempt from any claims of contribution or indemnity by the remaining defendants. Consequently, those defendants remaining in the lawsuit may wish to block such settlements, so that they are not left "holding the bag," and responsible for the entirety of any judgment. Once the court makes a good faith settlement determination, is there any recourse for the remaining defendants? May they appeal that determination, or is there another method by which they must contest the trial court's determination?
Last month, the Second District Court of Appeal (Division 8) addressed these questions in Oak Springs Villas Homeowners Ass'n v. Advanced Truss Sys., Inc. (June 14, 2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 1304. The court held that aggrieved parties in this situation should file a writ petition under Code of Civil Procedure section 877.6 — not file an appeal — since a good faith settlement determination is a nonappealable interlocutory ruling.
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