Bert Harris Settlement - Maybe More Complicated than You Think
It appears that a settlement agreement to deal with the case has blown up. One of the elements is that the landowner filed a notice of a Bert Harris claim during the pendancy of the other litigation. The "claim" was subject to the settlement - before the actual Bert Harris lawsuit was filed.
While gets to the issue. The Act provide for the presuit notice of the "claim" (including the requirement to file appraisals), a 180 day settlement period, then the ability to file a suit. The Act also requires court approval of the settlement "under this section" if it would contravene a statute (the most likely candidate in most circumstances is 163.3194 - the consistency requirement- if a settlment arguable includes a variance from or interpretation of a comprehensive plan provision).
So, is a settlement "under this section" a settlement only of a filed lawsuit, or of a noticed claim?
The 2d District took the position that once the notice of claim was filed, the operative provision for approval of the settlement agreement took effect. That is, once there is notice of a Bert Harris claim, the parties are bound by sections 70.001(4)(d) 1 and 2 regarding the settlement. In this case, that meant sending the issue back to the trial court, because if the Bert Harris claim was settled, then the Plaintiff might be entitled to the relief sought (judicial approval and enforcement of the settlement).