Gasca v. County of Sacramento

Filing 28

ORDER signed by Senior Judge William B. Shubb on 10/14/2016 GRANTING 25 Defendants' Motion motion to enforce the settlement agreement. (Kirksey Smith, K)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 ----oo0oo---- 11 12 MARTIN GASCA, an individual, Plaintiff, 13 14 15 16 17 18 CIV. NO. 2:15-1109 WBS CKD ORDER RE: MOTION TO ENFORCE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT v. COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO, a municipal corporation; OFFICER NATHAN BURNETTE; and DOES 2 through 25; Defendants. 19 20 21 22 ----oo0oo---Plaintiff brought an action in the California Superior 23 Court against the County of Sacramento for alleged police 24 brutality in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state tort law. 25 (See Notice of Removal Ex. A, Compl. at 1 (Docket No. 1).) 26 county removed the action to this court. 27 After removal, plaintiff filed an amended complaint identifying 28 1 The (Notice of Removal.) 1 Officer Nathan Burnette as a second defendant. 2 Compl.) 3 (First Am. On May 25, 2016, defendants emailed plaintiff stating 4 that they would be “willing to offer $10,000” to settle the case. 5 (Decl. of Kelley Kern (“Kern Decl.”) Ex. A at 1 (Docket No. 25- 6 2).) 7 accepting the terms of the proposed settlement.” 8 parties filed a Notice of Settlement five days later. 9 Notice of Settlement (Docket No. 17); Kern Decl. Ex. B at 3.) The next day, plaintiff responded that he “is agreeable to (Id.) The (See 10 The parties then performed due diligence on the terms of the 11 agreement.1 12 Ex. D at 1-2.) 13 settlement agreement to plaintiff’s counsel for review. 14 E at 1.) 15 have forwarded to my client for signature.” 16 (See Kern Decl. Ex. B at 1; id. Ex. C at 1-2; id. On August 8, defendants forwarded a draft of the (Id. Ex. Plaintiff’s counsel responded, “This looks fine. I (Id.) Thereafter and at some point prior to September 12, 17 plaintiff informed defendants that he would not be signing the 18 settlement agreement. 19 21).) (Joint Status Report at 2 (Docket No. Defendants now “move the court for an order enforcing the 20 1 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 The agreement required that: (1) plaintiff “is not Medicare eligible”; (2) plaintiff “does not owe the County Department of Revenue Recovery or Child Support Departments any money”; (3) “County Risk Management [for Sacramento County] . . . approve the payment”; and (4) plaintiff produce letters from the hospitals he attended stating how much each would each receive out of the settlement. (Kern Decl. Ex. A at 1.) The parties satisfied each of these conditions. (See id. Ex. B at 1 (confirming plaintiff is not Medicare eligible and has no liens with Sacramento County); id. Ex. C at 1 (stating that first hospital agrees to accept pro rata share); id. Ex. D at 1-2 (attaching letter from second hospital); id. E (attaching settlement agreement for plaintiff’s signature after requesting approval from County Risk).) 2 1 settlement agreement reached between Plaintiff and Defendants on 2 May 26.”2 3 230(c), plaintiff’s counsel filed a statement of non-opposition 4 in response to defendants’ motion.3 5 (“Non-Opp’n”) (Docket No. 26).) 6 (Defs.’ Mot. (Docket No. 25).) Pursuant to Local Rule (Statement of Non-Opp’n It is “well established that the trial court has power 7 to summarily enforce on motion a settlement agreement entered 8 into by the litigants while the litigation is pending before it.” 9 In re City Equities Anaheim, Ltd., 22 F.3d 954, 957 (9th Cir. 10 1994) (quoting Autera v. Robinson, 419 F.2d 1197, 1200 (D.C. Cir. 11 1969)); see also Callie v. Near, 829 F.2d 888, 890 (9th Cir. 12 1987) (holding the same). 13 [the parties] reached an enforceable agreement settling the 14 federal and state law claims alleged in Plaintiffs' complaint.” 15 Wilcox v. Arpaio, 753 F.3d 872, 876 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing 16 Botefur v. City of Eagle Point, Or., 7 F.3d 152, 156 (9th Cir. 17 1993)). 18 “[S]tate contract law governs whether Under California law, “[t]he essential elements of a 19 contract are: parties capable of contracting; the parties' 20 consent; a lawful object; and sufficient cause or consideration.” 21 Lopez v. Charles Schwab & Co., 118 Cal. App. 4th 1224, 1230 (1st 22 Dist. 2004) (citing California Civil Code section 1550). 23 24 25 26 27 28 “An 2 There is no indication that the August 8 draft differed in any material respect from the parties’ May 26 agreement. (See Kern Decl. Ex. D (plaintiff’s counsel responded “[t]his looks fine” after reviewing the August 8 draft).) 3 Plaintiff’s counsel states that he “has been unable to communicate with or locate plaintiff to discuss [the present motion] despite numerous and diverse attempts.” (Statement of Non-Opp’n at 1 (Docket No. 26).) 3 1 essential element of any contract is the consent of the parties, 2 or mutual assent. 3 offer communicated to the offeree and an acceptance communicated 4 to the offeror.” 5 sections 1550 and 1565). 6 determined by objective rather than subjective criteria, the test 7 being what the outward manifestations of consent would lead a 8 reasonable person to believe.” 9 60 Cal. App. 4th 793, 811 (2d Dist. 1998) (quoting Meyer v. 10 Mutual assent usually is manifested by an Id. at 1229 (citing California Civil Code “The existence of mutual consent is Weddington Prods., Inc. v. Flick, Benko, 55 Cal. App. 3d 937, 942-43 (2d Dist. 1976)). 11 If a valid agreement exists under state law, it must 12 additionally meet two federal requirements. 13 complete agreement.” 14 Supp. 2d 1089, 1092 (S.D. Cal. 1998) (citing Maynard v. City of 15 San Jose, 37 F.3d 1396, 1401 (9th Cir. 1994) and Callie, 829 F.2d 16 at 890). 17 terms of the settlement or authorized their respective counsel to 18 settle the dispute.” 19 Inc., 550 F.2d 1143, 1144–45 (9th Cir. 1977)). 20 “First, it must be a Marks-Foreman v. Reporter Pub. Co., 12 F. “Second, both parties must have either agreed to the Id. (citing Harrop v. Western Airlines, Here, all of the elements of an enforceable settlement 21 agreement are present. Plaintiff and defendants engaged in a 22 settlement negotiation over email which concluded with plaintiff 23 stating that he “is agreeable to accepting the terms of 24 [defendants’] proposed settlement.” 25 2.) 26 Notice of Settlement five days after they reached the agreement. 27 (See Notice of Settlement; Kern Decl. Ex. B at 3.) 28 offered and received consideration, (see Kern Decl. Ex. A at 1), (See Kern Decl. Ex. A at 1- The parties confirmed that they had settled by filing a 4 Each party 1 and the agreement was complete, (id. at 2 (noting that the 2 agreement “resolve[d] this matter”)). 3 counsel for plaintiff had the explicit authority from his client 4 to enter into the settlement that was reached in this matter.” 5 (Non-Opp’n at 1.) 6 “[A]t all relevant times, That the parties did not end up executing a formal 7 settlement agreement does not alter the validity of their 8 original agreement over email. 9 Cassidy, 191 Cal. App. 4th 39, 48–49 (2d Dist. 2010) (“When See Blix St. Records, Inc. v. 10 parties intend that an agreement be binding, the fact that a more 11 formal agreement must be prepared and executed does not alter the 12 validity of the agreement.” (citing Mitchell v. Exhibition Foods, 13 Inc., 184 Cal. App. 3d 1033, 1048 (1st Dist. 1986)). 14 15 Accordingly, the court will enforce the parties’ settlement agreement reached on May 26. 16 IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that defendants’ motion to 17 enforce the settlement agreement reached on May 26, 2016 be, and 18 the same hereby is, GRANTED. 19 Dated: October 14, 2016 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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