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California Code of Civil Procedure Section 998

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Code of Civil Procedure > California Code of Civil Procedure Section 998

998.  (a) The costs allowed under Sections 1031 and 1032 shall be
withheld or augmented as provided in this section.
   (b) Not less than 10 days prior to commencement of trial or
arbitration (as provided in Section 1281 or 1295) of a dispute to be
resolved by arbitration, any party may serve an offer in writing upon
any other party to the action to allow judgment to be taken or an
award to be entered in accordance with the terms and conditions
stated at that time. The written offer shall include a statement of
the offer, containing the terms and conditions of the judgment or
award, and a provision that allows the accepting party to indicate
acceptance of the offer by signing a statement that the offer is
accepted. Any acceptance of the offer, whether made on the document
containing the offer or on a separate document of acceptance, shall
be in writing and shall be signed by counsel for the accepting party
or, if not represented by counsel, by the accepting party.
   (1) If the offer is accepted, the offer with proof of acceptance
shall be filed and the clerk or the judge shall enter judgment
accordingly. In the case of an arbitration, the offer with proof of
acceptance shall be filed with the arbitrator or arbitrators who
shall promptly render an award accordingly.
   (2) If the offer is not accepted prior to trial or arbitration or
within 30 days after it is made, whichever occurs first, it shall be
deemed withdrawn, and cannot be given in evidence upon the trial or
arbitration.
   (3) For purposes of this subdivision, a trial or arbitration shall
be deemed to be actually commenced at the beginning of the opening
statement of the plaintiff or counsel, and if there is no opening
statement, then at the time of the administering of the oath or
affirmation to the first witness, or the introduction of any
evidence.
   (c) (1) If an offer made by a defendant is not accepted and the
plaintiff fails to obtain a more favorable judgment or award, the
plaintiff shall not recover his or her postoffer costs and shall pay
the defendant's costs from the time of the offer. In addition, in any
action or proceeding other than an eminent domain action, the court
or arbitrator, in its discretion, may require the plaintiff to pay a
reasonable sum to cover costs of the services of expert witnesses,
who are not regular employees of any party, actually incurred and
reasonably necessary in either, or both, preparation for trial or
arbitration, or during trial or arbitration, of the case by the
defendant.
   (2) (A) In determining whether the plaintiff obtains a more
favorable judgment, the court or arbitrator shall exclude the
postoffer costs.
   (B) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting subparagraph
(A) to supersede the holding in Encinitas Plaza Real v. Knight, 209
Cal.App.3d 996, that attorney's fees awarded to the prevailing party
were not costs for purposes of this section but were part of the
judgment.
   (d) If an offer made by a plaintiff is not accepted and the
defendant fails to obtain a more favorable judgment or award in any
action or proceeding other than an eminent domain action, the court
or arbitrator, in its discretion, may require the defendant to pay a
reasonable sum to cover postoffer costs of the services of expert
witnesses, who are not regular employees of any party, actually
incurred and reasonably necessary in either, or both, preparation for
trial or arbitration, or during trial or arbitration, of the case by
the plaintiff, in addition to plaintiff's costs.
   (e) If an offer made by a defendant is not accepted and the
plaintiff fails to obtain a more favorable judgment or award, the
costs under this section, from the time of the offer, shall be
deducted from any damages awarded in favor of the plaintiff. If the
costs awarded under this section exceed the amount of the damages
awarded to the plaintiff the net amount shall be awarded to the
defendant and judgment or award shall be entered accordingly.
   (f) Police officers shall be deemed to be expert witnesses for the
purposes of this section. For purposes of this section, "plaintiff"
includes a cross-complainant and "defendant" includes a
cross-defendant. Any judgment or award entered pursuant to this
section shall be deemed to be a compromise settlement.
   (g) This chapter does not apply to either of the following:
   (1) An offer that is made by a plaintiff in an eminent domain
action.
   (2) Any enforcement action brought in the name of the people of
the State of California by the Attorney General, a district attorney,
or a city attorney, acting as a public prosecutor.
   (h) The costs for services of expert witnesses for trial under
subdivisions (c) and (d) shall not exceed those specified in Section
68092.5 of the Government Code.
   (i) This section shall not apply to labor arbitrations filed
pursuant to memoranda of understanding under the Ralph C. Dills Act
(Chapter 10.3 (commencing with Section 3512) of Division 4 of Title 1
of the Government Code).



Section: 998

Last modified: March 17, 2014