Tonna v. Grand C, Inc. et al
ORDER denying 43 Plaintiff Jacob Tonna's Motion for Relief from Judgment of Dismissal and Order of Dismissal with Prejudice Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6) and Motion for Enforcement of Settlement Agreement and Entry of Consent Judgment. B ased on this Order, Defendants Grand C, Inc. and Robert W. Mignault need not advise the Court of their decision on hiring new counsel as required by the Order dated October 31, 2017 45 . Signed by Judge Sheri Polster Chappell on 11/6/2017. (LMF)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
FORT MYERS DIVISION
JACOB TONNA, an individual
Case No: 2:15-cv-469-FtM-38CM
GRAND C, INC. and ROBERT W.
OPINION AND ORDER1
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Jacob Tonna’s Motion for Relief
from Judgment of Dismissal and Order of Dismissal with Prejudice Under Fed. R. Civ. P.
60(b)(6) and Motion for Enforcement of Settlement Agreement and Entry of Consent
Judgment. (Doc. 43). Two years ago, Tonna sued Defendants Grand C, Inc. and Robert
W. Mignault for workplace discrimination and harassment. (Doc. 1). A year into the suit,
the parties filed a Joint Stipulation for Order of Dismissal in which they dismissed this
case with prejudice under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(ii). (Doc. 40). The
Court then directed the Clerk of Court to enter judgment and close the file. (Doc. 41).
Fast-forward sixteen months. Tonna now tells the Court that Defendants have not
paid him per the terms of their Settlement Agreement (Doc. 43-1). He thus moves the
Court to vacate the Judgment (Doc. 42), reopen the case, and enter final judgment in his
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favor in an amount consistent with his damages. (Doc. 43). But the Court declines to do
A stipulation of voluntary dismissal filed under Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(ii) is “self-serving”
and dismisses the case upon filing. See Anago Franchising, Inc. v. Shaz, LLC, 677 F.3d
1272, 1278 (11th Cir. 2012). This means a court “may not take action after the stipulation
becomes effective because the stipulation dismisses the case and divests the district
court of jurisdiction.” Id. (citation omitted). But litigants could try conditioning a Rule
41(a)(1) dismissal’s effectiveness on a subsequent occurrence like the court retaining
jurisdiction over a settlement agreement. At bottom, a federal court must take some act
to retain jurisdiction to enforce settlement agreements. See Anago, 677 F.3d at 1279.
This is because “enforcement of [a] settlement agreement is for state courts, unless there
is some independent basis for federal jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 382 (1994); see also Anago, 677 F.3d at 1281 (stating, if the court
does not embody the settlement contract in its dismissal order, “enforcement of the
settlement agreement is for state courts”).
Here, the underlying lawsuit was dismissed upon the parties filing the stipulated
dismissal. They did not condition the stipulation upon the Court retaining jurisdiction over
their Settlement Agreement. Nor did the Court independently do so. And the Court did
not make the Settlement Agreement part of its Order. See Anago, 677 F.3d at 1281
(stating “[w]hen [a] settlement agreement is not made part of a court order, it is merely a
private contract arising out of a case in federal court and ‘ha[s] nothing to do with’ the
underlying case. The contract does not require adjudication by the same court[.]” (quoting
Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 380)).
In fact, the Court never reviewed the Settlement
Agreement until Tonna filed it two weeks ago. The Court simply has no jurisdiction to
enforce the Settlement Agreement. The Court, therefore, will deny Tonna’s motion. But
he is not without recourse, as he may seek to enforce the Settlement Agreement in state
Accordingly, it is now
(1) Plaintiff Jacob Tonna’s Motion for Relief from Judgment of Dismissal and Order
of Dismissal with Prejudice Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6) and Motion for
Enforcement of Settlement Agreement and Entry of Consent Judgment (Doc.
43) is DENIED.
(2) Based on this Order, Defendants Grand C, Inc. and Robert W. Mignault need
not advise the Court of their decision on hiring new counsel as required by the
Order dated October 31, 2017 (Doc. 45).
DONE and ORDERED in Fort Myers, Florida this 3rd day of November, 2017.
Copies: All Parties of Record
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