the condition it would have occupied if the settlement agreement had been fully performed. See Restatement, Contracts, § 329 & comment a; Adams v. Speckman, 1956, 385 Pa. 308, 122 A.2d 685.
Under the general powers of the court, a settlement having taken place in a judicial proceeding, this court may direct a judgment directly in favor of one who has suffered damages as a result of a breach of the settlement agreement by a subscribing party. See Skyline Sash, Inc. v. Fidelity and Casualty Co. of New York, W.D.Pa.1966, 267 F. Supp. 577; cf. Bata v. Central-Penn National Bank of Philadelphia, 1972, 448 Pa. 355, 293 A.2d 343. The negotiation of a settlement is a part of a judicial proceeding and is a judicially-favored way of disposing of litigation. Petty v. General Accident Fire & Life Assurance Corp., 3 Cir. 1966, 365 F.2d 419, 421. When parties negotiate a compromise and settlement, this court has authority to see that it is carried out and to award damages for breach thereof. See Skyline Sash, Inc. v. Fidelity and Casualty Co. of New York, supra. To hold otherwise would undermine the judicially-favored resolution of litigation through settlement.
There remains plaintiff's request for an award of costs and counsel fees "covering all expenses for work performed since October 1, 1974 up to the date that this matter is in fact completed." Motion for Sanctions, p. 7.
Attorneys' fees and costs are not ordinarily recoverable and unless specifically authorized by statute are awarded only in extraordinary cases. Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. v. The Wilderness Society, 1975, 421 U.S. 240, 95 S. Ct. 1612, 44 L. Ed. 2d 141. Exceptions to this general rule which are rooted in the inherent equity power of the courts consist of the power to assess attorneys' fees for the willful disobedience of a court order as part of the fine to be levied on a defendant, Toledo Scale Co. v. Computing Sale Co., 1923, 261 U.S. 399, 426-428, 43 S. Ct. 458, 67 L. Ed. 719; Fleischmann Distilling Corp. v. Maier Brewing Co., 1967, 386 U.S. 714, 718, 87 S. Ct. 1404, 18 L. Ed. 2d 475, and the authority to award attorneys' fees when the losing party has acted in bad faith, vexatiously, wantonly, or for oppressive reasons. F. D. Rich Co. Inc. v. Industrial Lumber Co., Inc., 1974, 417 U.S. 40, 129, 94 S. Ct. 2116, 40 L. Ed. 2d 642; Vaughan v. Atkinson, 1962, 369 U.S. 527, 82 S. Ct. 997, 8 L. Ed. 2d 88; Lichtenstein v. Lichtenstein, 3 Cir. 1973, 481 F.2d 682; 6 Moore, Federal Practice P 54.77(2), p. 1348. See Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. v. The Wilderness Society, supra.
It is apparent that the facts of this case do not fall within any of the aforementioned exceptions and that plaintiff is not entitled to an award for counsel fees and costs. Obviously the defendants have not willfully disobeyed a court order. The defendants' failure to consummate the settlement agreement in a timely manner, thereby causing the plaintiff to seek enforcement of the settlement and damages caused by their delay, does not amount to bad faith. The defendants' actions were not taken vexatiously, wantonly, or for oppressive reasons. Performance of the settlement agreement required cooperative action by four defendants each of whom had rights and interests of its own to protect vis-a-vis the other defendants. While this fact does not excuse the delay in implementing the settlement contract, it does explain it so as to refute any claim of bad faith on the part of the defendants. Moreover, given the fact that the settlement agreement was ambiguous, the defenses raised by the defendants with respect to the motion for sanctions are not frivolous. Cf. Lichtenstein v. Lichtenstein, 3 Cir. 1973, 481 F.2d 682.
For the foregoing reasons, an award of attorneys' fees and costs, pursuant to the court's limited inherent equity power or pursuant to Rule 101.18(c) of the Local Rules of United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania,
would be inappropriate.
Plaintiff's motion for sanctions will be granted in part and denied in part. The court will award damages in favor of plaintiff against the defendants jointly and severally in the amount of $11,856.00. Plaintiff's request for attorneys' fees and costs will be denied.