You may have heard of highly publicized global settlement agreements where an embattled company agrees to distribute a huge amount of money to thousands of people injured by its product or agrees to settle a billion-dollar dispute with multiple states. However, the term “global settlement” has a much broader meaning in the law. It is used to describe any settlement where there are multiple parties or multiple cases and all the parties reach a settlement that fully and completely resolves all outstanding disputes.
Multiple Parties to Lawsuit
When you sue someone, you and the other party may negotiate a settlement and avoid going to trial. If there are many parties to the lawsuit, it is more complicated but a settlement can still be achieved. If one or more parties reach out to the others and offer an initial settlement proposal, then you may be on your way toward reaching a global settlement. For example, if three people are involved in a car accident, the two at-fault parties may decide to combine their money and make an offer to the injured person. If the injured person agrees to accept their offer as a full and final settlement for all damages against both parties, they have reached a global settlement.
If you have two or more separate lawsuits against one person, it may be to your advantage to resolve all cases at the same time. This can also be accomplished through a global settlement. For example, an employee may file a workers' compensation claim and also sue her employer for a different employment-related issue. The employer and employee may try to arrive at a global agreement in which they agree to settle both cases at the same time. Similarly, companies that have more than one case pending before several courts and administrative agencies may agree to globally resolve their conflicts. Criminal defendants with multiple charges in different counties, or even states, may be able to combine pleas as part of one global settlement.
- Wall Street Journal: Merck to Settle Contraceptive Product-Liability Lawsuits
- United States Department of Justice: Justice News
- LexisNexis Legal Newsroom: Workers Compensation Law
- CNET: Apple, HTC Announce Global Settlement of Patent Disputes
- Murderpedia.org: State of New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Plea Agreement
Based in the Hartford, Conn.-area, Kristen Harris has been a practicing attorney for 18 years. She writes about business topics, civil litigation, family law, criminal law, probate and estates, contracts, health care and education law.