United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
S. Perkin, M.J.
before the Court in this employment matter is Plaintiff's
Motion to Strike Settlement and to Reinstate the Action and
Memorandum in Support of the Motion (Dkt. Nos. 50, 51) were
filed on January 7, 2017. Defendant's Memorandum in
Opposition (Dkt. No. 53) was filed on January 23, 2017, and
Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Reply to Defendant's
Opposition (Dkt. No. 54) was filed on January 26, 2017. On
April 13, 2017, Judge Stengel referred the Motion to Strike
Settlement for resolution. See Dkt. No. 55.
Rule 41.1(b) provides a ninety-day period during which
parties may move to vacate a Court's order dismissing a
case after it is entered on the docket. As noted by
Defendant, this ninety-day limitation is rigidly enforced as
a jurisdictional bar in the Third Circuit. Resp., pp. 2-3
(citing Sawka v. Healtheast, Inc., 989 F.2d 138, 140
(3d Cir. 1993) (finding petition to reinstate under
predecessor to Rule 41.1(b) untimely when filed beyond
ninety-day period); Avato v. Green Tree Run Condominium
Community Ass'n, No. 97-2868, 1998 WL 196397, at *2
(E.D. Pa. Apr. 22, 1998)(denying plaintiffs' motion to
modify order of dismissal under Local Rule 41.1(b) when
motion not filed within 90 days); Morris v.
Schemanski, No. 07-2147, 2008 WL 2405769 (E.D. Pa. Jun.
13, 2008) (“The 90-day limitation in Rule 41.1(b) has
been held to apply to both the court's retention of
jurisdiction and a party's opportunity to vacate, modify,
or strike the dismissal order.”); see also
Kozierachi v. Perez, No. 10-7570, 2014 WL 1378268 (E.D.
Pa. Apr. 7, 2014). Outside of the ninety-day period, once a
case settles, overseeing enforcement of the settlement
agreement “is more than just a continuation or renewal
of the dismissed suit, and hence requires its own basis for
jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 378 (1994).
an in-person settlement conference held on August 30, 2016,
at which Plaintiff and her counsel were permitted to confer
with the Court and defense counsel via telephone, a
settlement was reached and placed on the record. Based on
that agreement, at the parties' request, this Court
entered an Order dismissing Plaintiff's claims with
prejudice pursuant to Local Rule of Civil Procedure 41.1(b)
and retaining jurisdiction “for ninety (90) days from
now, and any settlement agreement is approved and made a part
of the record and this order for enforcement purposes
only.” See Dkt. No. 47. Local Rule 41.1(b)
provides that an order of dismissal “may be vacated,
modified, or stricken from the record, for cause shown, upon
the application of any party served within ninety (90) days
of the entry of such order of dismissal.” The
ninety-day period of time for Plaintiff's counsel to move
to vacate this Court's August 30, 2016 Order expired on
November 28, 2016.
the ninety-day period following entry of the Rule 41.1(b)
Order, the parties contacted Chambers regarding issues with
the settlement terms and a subsequent telephone conference
was held by the Court with all counsel on October 7, 2016.
See Dkt. No. 49. The ninety-day period following the
October 7, 2016 telephone call expired on Thursday, January
5, 2017, and Plaintiff's Motion was electronically filed
on Saturday, January 7, 2017. Even giving Plaintiff the
benefit of October 7, 2016 as the new start date for the
ninety-day limitation period, the instant Motion is untimely
filed outside of the ninety-day period.
alternatively argues that this Court has jurisdiction
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(3) because
the motion was filed within one year of the time frame in
which Plaintiff alleges misconduct by the Defendant.
See Pl.'s Reply, p. 1. Rule 60(b)(3) permits
relief from a judgment or order when the moving party has
shown fraud (whether intrinsic or extrinsic),
misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(3). Plaintiff contends that the proposed
release document prepared by defense counsel “is far
too onerous, and it contains much more than the basic terms
of the settlement agreed to on August 30, 2016.”
See Pl.'s Mem. Law, p. 1. Plaintiff specifically
notes issues regarding liquidated damage penalties in the
event of breach, a requirement for Plaintiff to opt out of
class action settlements and representations regarding
Plaintiff's possession of Defendant's company
documents. Id. at 9. Plaintiff fails to establish
misconduct related to the settlement on the part of the
Defendant. Thus, Plaintiff's alternative argument
pursuant to Rule 60(b)(3) fails.
Court lacks jurisdiction to vacate the Rule 41.1(b) Order and
Plaintiff has not established any misconduct on the part of
Plaintiff to permit relief pursuant to Rule 60(b)(3),
therefore Plaintiff's Motion to Strike is denied.
Plaintiff may bring a separate action to enforce the
settlement agreement which she alleges the Defendant has
breached. Patterson v. Glaxosmithkline Pharmaceutical