United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
J. RUETER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the court is defendant's Motion to Enforce
Settlement (Doc. 19) (“Motion”). The Motion was
referred to the undersigned by the Honorable Eduardo C.
Robreno for a Report and Recommendation. The court held an
evidentiary hearing on July 12, 2019.
consideration of the Motion, plaintiff's Response in
Opposition (Doc. 20), and defendant's reply in support of
the Motion (Doc. 25), and for the reasons stated below, the
court recommends that defendant's Motion be
FINDINGS OF FACT
December 19, 2018, the undersigned conducted a settlement
conference in the above-referenced case. Plaintiff attended
the settlement conference and was represented by counsel,
Jonathan W. Chase (hereinafter “counsel” or
“plaintiff's counsel”). Defendant was
represented at the conference by Marc Esterow (“defense
counsel”). Plaintiff's initial demand was $75, 000.
The parties were unable to come to a settlement at the
conclusion of the conference; plaintiff's final demand
was $50, 000, and defendant's final offer was $30, 000.
Plaintiff's deposition was taken by defense counsel on
March 19, 2019.
March 25, 2019, defense counsel conveyed to plaintiff's
counsel by email a settlement offer of $40, 000.
Following receipt of defendant's offer, counsel reached
out to plaintiff and after a “lengthy discussion,
” plaintiff authorized counsel to demand $50, 000.
(N.T. 7/12/19, at 47.) Plaintiff's counsel replied to
defense counsel's email on March 25, 2019, stating
“I am authorized to respond with a demand of $50,
000.” (D-1 at 6.)
March 26, 2019, defense counsel responded that defendant had
accepted the demand, and set forth a number of additional
terms, such as confidentiality, no rehire, and
non-disparagement, among others. (D-1 at 5.) Plaintiff's
counsel replied, confirming that the matter was settled.
Id. at 4.
March 28, 2019, plaintiff emailed counsel, stating she had
“thought about” what she was told regarding her
case, and stated, “I do not wish to settle for $50,
000.” (D-6 at 1.) Counsel responded to plaintiff on
April 2, 2019, stating that she had authorized him to convey
the settlement demand to defendant, and that he
“strongly advise[d] against backing out from the
settlement.” Id. Plaintiff replied,
“[w]hen I spoke with you last week you told me that you
were going to tell Littman that my previous minimum was $50,
000. You did not tell me this was final. I assumed you were
negotiating on my behalf. I did not agree to settle for $50,
000.” Id. at 2.
March 31, 2019, April 10, 2019, and April 16, 2019, defense
counsel emailed plaintiff's counsel but did not receive
an immediate response. (D-1 at 2-4.)
April 17, 2019, plaintiff's counsel responded, indicating
that plaintiff was “showing signs of cold feet and
trending towards rescinding her acceptance of the settlement
amount.” (D-1 at 1.)
Counsel emailed plaintiff on April 26, 2019, in advance of a
telephone conference scheduled the same day with the
Honorable Eduardo C. Robreno. Counsel restated his
understanding of the circumstances: “[When we spoke] I
suggested that we should restate our most recent demand of
$50, 000 . . . . You agreed that I could proceed in that
manner . . . . However, shortly thereafter, you stated that
you no longer wished to settle for $50, 000.” (D-7 at
1.) Plaintiff did not challenge this recitation of events,
replying instead with “some issues concerning damages
in my case that have not been resolved.” Id.
April 26, 2019, during the telephone conference with Judge
Robreno, “[p]laintiff's counsel indicated that he
was continuing to work with plaintiff to move forward with
the settlement agreement, and he did not dispute that he had