Johnson, et al v. Rowland, et al
ORDER denying 140 145 146 147 148 149 Motions to Enforce Settlement Agreement. Signed by Judge Donna F. Martinez on 2/14/14. (Nichols, J.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
KEITH B. JOHNSON et al.,
JOHN ROWLAND et al.,
CASE NO. 3:95CV2645(DFM)
Pending before the court are motions to enforce a
settlement agreement filed by nonparty movants and state
prisoners Saadiq Amir a/k/a Tommie Martin, Jesse Maroney, Roy X.
Trotter, Eric Thomas Kelsey and Ricardo Collins.
(Docs. ## 140,
The relevant procedural history is as follows.
several state prisoners sued the governor and officials in the
Department of Corrections.
As of January 18, 2005, Eddie
Gilchrist was the sole remaining plaintiff.
#52, #70, #132.)
(See docs. #20,
On February 9, 2005, Gilchrist and the
defendants filed two documents: a private Settlement Agreement
and a Stipulation of Dismissal with prejudice pursuant to Rule
41(a)(1)(ii) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
In the Settlement Agreement, Gilchrist agreed to
dismiss the action in exchange for certain accommodations
regarding his religious observance and a possible transfer to
On February 11, 2005, the court approved the
Settlement Agreement, and the Clerk of the Court dismissed the
(Docs. #135, #136.)
The nonparty movants now contend
that they are intended beneficiaries of the Settlement Agreement
and that defendants are not in compliance with it.
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and the
burden of establishing jurisdiction rests on the party asserting
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Insurance Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377
Enforcement of a settlement agreement that produced a
stipulation of dismissal is more than just a continuation or
renewal of the dismissed suit; it is a separate contract dispute
that belongs in the state courts unless there is some
independent basis for federal jurisdiction.
Id. at 378-82.
This case was dismissed pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1), which
provides that a plaintiff may dismiss an action without a court
order and with prejudice1 by filing a stipulation of dismissal
signed by all parties.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1).
41(a)(1) "does not by its terms empower a district court to
attach conditions to the parties' stipulation of dismissal . . .
the court is authorized to embody the settlement contract in its
dismissal order or, [to] the same effect, [expressly] retain
Rule 41(a)(1)(B) provides that the dismissal is without
prejudice "[u]nless the notice or stipulation states otherwise."
Here, the parties stipulated to dismissal "with prejudice."
jurisdiction over the settlement contract . . . if the parties
Kokkonen at 381-82.
Here, neither the Settlement
Agreement nor the Stipulation of Dismissal includes any
agreement that the court should retain jurisdiction over the
Moreover, even assuming that
the parties wanted the court to retain jurisdiction, the court
did not incorporate the Settlement Agreement in a dismissal
order or otherwise provide for retention of jurisdiction.
The court therefore lacks jurisdiction to enforce the
See, e.g., Kokkonen at 381 (no retention
of jurisdiction where judge approved terms of settlement
agreement but did not make them part of dismissal order); Shakur
v. Dzurenda, Nos. 3:04CV1835(WIG) et al., 2007 WL 4800721 (D.
Conn. Nov. 27, 2007) (no retention of jurisdiction where
settlement agreement was neither made a part of nor referenced
in Rule 41(a)(1) stipulation).
For the foregoing reason, the nonparties' motions to
enforce the settlement agreement (docs. ## 140, 145-149) are
SO ORDERED at Hartford, Connecticut this 14th day of
Donna F. Martinez
United States Magistrate Judge
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