Coombe v. Harleysville Insurance Company
OPINION REGARDING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO ENFORCE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
CASEY LYNN COOMBE,
Case No. 1:14-CV-592
HARLEYSVILLE INSURANCE COMPANY
HON. GORDON J. QUIST
OPINION REGARDING DEFENDANT’S MOTION
TO ENFORCE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
Plaintiff, Casey Lynn Coombe, filed a complaint against Defendant, Harleysville Insurance
Company, on May 6, 2014 in the Ingham County Circuit Court seeking to recover first-party no fault
and personal protection insurance benefits arising out of a motor vehicle accident that occurred on
January 7, 2004. Defendant removed the case to this Court on May 30, 2014 on the basis of
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). (Dkt. # 1.) On June 26, 2014, the Court entered
a Case Management Order, which indicated that the parties had agreed to submit the case to
facilitative mediation and directed the parties to jointly choose a mediator from the list of mediators.
(Dkt. # 12 at Page ID## 53–54.) Subsequently, the parties selected Paula J. Manderfield to conduct
the mediation. (Dkt. # 13.) On October 10, 2014, the Court granted the parties a ninety-day
extension to complete the facilitated mediation. (Dkt. # 18.)
The mediation was scheduled for January 27, 2015. However, on January 26, 2015,
Plaintiff’s counsel sent an email to Ms. Manderfield stating that “the case has been settled.” (Dkt.
# 24 at Page ID#89.) Therefore, the mediation did not occur.
Defendant has now filed a motion to enforce the settlement to which Plaintiff’s counsel
referred in his January 26, 2015 email to Ms. Manderfield because Plaintiff has changed her mind.
According to Defendant, the settlement called for: (1) Defendant to pay Plaintiff a total of
$7,500.00; (2) a medicare lien would be satisfied out of the $7,500; and (3) with the exception of
certain Medicare claims, all outstanding bills for first-party no fault benefits for treatment rendered
through January 26, 2015 would be satisfied out of the $7,500. (Dkt. # 24 at Page ID#79.) Plaintiff
has not responded to the motion.
The Sixth Circuit “has long recognized the broad, inherent authority and equitable power
of a district court to enforce an agreement in settlement of litigation pending before it.” Bostick
Foundry Co. v. Lindberg, 797 F.2d 280, 282-83 (6th Cir. 1986). “Once concluded, a settlement
agreement is as binding, conclusive, and final as if it had been incorporated into a judgment and the
actual merits of the antecedent claims will not thereafter be examined.” Id. at 283. A court may
enforce a settlement agreement only if it concludes that the parties have reached agreement on all
material terms. Brock v. Scheuner Corp., 841 F.2d 151, 154 (6th Cir. 1988). A trial court has the
power to summarily enforce a settlement agreement, without an evidentiary hearing, when the
parties do not dispute the material facts pertaining to the existence or terms of the settlement
agreement. Kukla v. Nat'l Distillers Prods. Co., 483 F.2d 619, 621-22 (6th Cir. 1973). However,
the court must enforce the terms of the settlement as agreed to by the parties and is not permitted
to alter the terms of the agreement. Brock, 841 F.2d at 154.
In this case, there is no question that the parties reached a settlement because Plaintiff’s
counsel informed Ms. Manderfield of that fact. Although Defendant has not presented any
document separately outlining the terms of the settlement, it has set forth the agreed-upon terms in
its motion. As Plaintiff has not responded to the motion within the time permitted by the local rules,
Plaintiff does not dispute that she agreed to the proffered terms, nor does she argue that the parties
did not reach an agreement on all material terms.1
Because Defendant’s motion has been pending for more than thirty days, the Court need not decide whether
a motion to enforce a settlement is a dispositive or a nondispositive motion for purposes of the applicable briefing
schedule under Local Rules 7.2(c) and 7.3(c). Under either rule, Plaintiff has failed to respond within the specified time.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court will grant Defendant’s motion and enforce the
An Order consistent with this Opinion will enter.
Dated: March 20, 2015
/s/ Gordon J. Quist
GORDON J. QUIST
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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