Wilson et al v. Fletcher et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER- 1) The plaintiffs' motions to enforce their settlement agreement for resolution of the above-captioned case, (Filing Nos. 88 , 89 , 90 , and 91 ), are denied without prejudice to re-filing in a forum with jurisdicti on over the plaintiffs' claims.2) The parties are advised that this case is closed, and the federal court lacks jurisdiction to enforce the parties' settlement. As such, any attempts to further file motions to enforce the settlement in this forum may be returned, and if the motions are not filed in a forum which has jurisdiction, attempting to first file them in this forum will only serve to delay a ruling on the merits. Ordered by Magistrate Judge Cheryl R. Zwart. (Copy mailed to pro se parties)(JAB)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
HAROLD B. WILSON, GRACY SEDLAK,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
JOSEPH FLETCHER, ORA THOMAS
This case is before the court on the plaintiffs’ motions to compel the defendants to
comply with an agreement to settle the above-captioned case. The parties had stipulated to
many facts, leaving only one or two issues to be litigated.
The court scheduled an
evidentiary hearing on those unresolved issues, and had the hearing been necessary, the
undersigned magistrate judge would have prepared findings and a recommendation for entry
of a final judgment by Judge Smith Camp.
But before the evidentiary hearing began, the parties settled the case on the record.
Since all parties were pro se, with one party incarcerated, as the mediator of the parties’
settlement discussions, the undersigned magistrate judge agreed to memorialize the
settlement agreement in writing—recognizing that the settlement terms were complex, and
neither the parties nor any state court judge who may be called on to enforce the terms would
have easy and free access to this court’s audio recording of the agreement. The resulting
“Settlement Order,”1 (Filing No. 84), outlined the terms of the parties’ settlement agreement,
provided written documentation of the agreement for the parties, and advised the presiding
judge that an evidentiary hearing was neither held nor necessary because the parties had
settled their case.
Upon reflection, the document should have been entitled “Settlement Statement.” The
language of the filing actually orders nothing, but merely serves as written documentation of the
pro se parties’ agreement.
Thereafter, the District Judge waited more than 30 days before entering a final
judgment. During that time, the parties did not object to the language used by undersigned
magistrate judge as failing to reflect, or fully reflect, the terms of the parties’ settlement. The
District Judge then entered a final judgment. The final judgment acknowledges that the
parties settled the case, and the terms of that settlement are stated on the court’s docket in
both an audio recording and in writing (Filing No. 84).
But neither the court’s final
judgment, nor any other order, states the federal court retains jurisdiction to enforce, or
intends to enforce, the terms of the parties’ settlement agreement.
The settlement agreement is a contract, and any future litigation to enforce it will be
breach of contract action arising under state common law. As reflected in the terms outlined
in Filing No. 84, and particularly since a portion of the money owed under the settlement
agreement has now been paid, (Filing No. 86), the amount at issue for Plaintiffs’ breach of
contract action does not exceed $75,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332. This court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over the plaintiffs’ action to enforce the settlement agreement. Kokkonen v.
Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375 (1994).
IT IS ORDERED:
The plaintiffs’ motions to enforce their settlement agreement for resolution of
the above-captioned case, (Filing Nos. 88, 89, 90, and 91), are denied without prejudice to
re-filing in a forum with jurisdiction over the plaintiffs’ claims.
The parties are advised that this case is closed, and the federal court lacks
jurisdiction to enforce the parties’ settlement. As such, any attempts to further file motions
to enforce the settlement in this forum may be returned, and if the motions are not filed in a
forum which has jurisdiction, attempting to first file them in this forum will only serve to
delay a ruling on the merits.
June 12, 2014.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Cheryl R. Zwart
United States Magistrate Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?