United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
brought this action, claiming his four-month period of
employment was terminated by the Defendant because of his
religion (Muslim) in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Pennsylvania Human
Relations Act. The Court referred this matter to United
States Magistrate Judge Henry S. Perkin for the purpose of
conducting a settlement conference. On April 3, 2019, the
Magistrate Judge conducted a settlement conference, at the
conclusion of which the parties reached a settlement. The
Magistrate Judge put the settlement agreement on the record
and questioned the Plaintiff concerning the terms and
conditions of the settlement. The Magistrate Judge then
issued an Order under Rule 41.1(b) dismissing the case with
prejudice, but retaining jurisdiction for a period of 90 days
from that date for purposes of enforcing the settlement.
Plaintiff refused to sign a written version of the settlement
agreement that was drafted by Defense counsel and approved by
Plaintiff's counsel, counsel for the Plaintiff and
counsel for Defendant made a joint request by letter that the
terms of the settlement agreement be enforced. [ECF 30.] On
June 3, 2019, the Magistrate Judge held a hearing on
Counsel's joint request to enforce the settlement
agreement. On June 19, 2019, Magistrate Judge Perkin issued a
Report and Recommendation recommending that “the
settlement agreement . . . be enforced upon its terms whether
the plaintiff signs the agreement or continues to refuse to
do so.” [ECF 36, p. 9.] On July 3, 2019, Plaintiff
filed a pro se Notice of Objection to the Magistrate
Judge's Report. [ECF 40.] On November 22,
2019, the Court held an evidentiary hearing on
Plaintiff's Objections. For the reasons that follow, the
Court will deny the Objections and adopt the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation in its entirety.
objections to a report and recommendation have been filed
under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), the district court must
make a de novo review of those portions of the
report to which specific objections are made. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(C); Sample v. Diecks, 885 F.2d
1099, 1106 n.3 (3d Cir. 1989). “District Courts,
however, are not required to make any separate findings or
conclusions when reviewing a Magistrate Judge's
recommendation de novo under 28 U.S.C. §
636(b).” Hill v. Barnacle, 655 F. App'x.
142, 147 (3d Cir. 2016). The “court may accept, reject,
or modify, in whole or in part, the findings and
recommendations” contained in the report. 28 U.S.C.
Notice of Objection, Plaintiff contends that the settlement
agreement should be voided because he never signed the
written agreement and because he was not fully advised by his
counsel prior to entering into the agreement as to the full
amount of damages he was eligible to recover if he was
victorious at trial “such as salary difference,
psychiatrist expenses, medication expenses, relocation
expenses, job search etc (which make up more than 75% of the
financial losses incurred by Mr. Ismail)” as well as
counsel fees. [ECF 40.] Indeed, Plaintiff has attached to his
Objection a copy of an email he sent to his former counsel
three hours after he left the courthouse on April 3, 2019
that memorializes his concerns. Apparently, Plaintiff's
counsel did not respond to this email. Plaintiff raised these
same concerns during his testimony before this Court on
November 22, 2019.
the settlement hearing on April 3, 2019, the following
exchange took place:
THE COURT: The settlement amount is $50, 000, inclusive of
all claims for counsel fees and costs, all in. That's the
number for all of those claims. Am I correct, Mr. Kolman?
MR. KOLMAN: Yes, you are, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Okay. And Ms. Kaye, am I correct as well?
MS. KAYE: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right. Let me inquire of Mr. Ismail. Thank you
for being here. You and I have spent some time together
today, and I appreciate your assistance and your openness. Do
you understand that once this sum is paid, that will be all
the money that you can obtain from the Defendants, and each
one of them in this case, this will release all claims
against all of them; do you understand that, sir?
MR. HESHAM ISMAIL: Yes.
THE COURT: Do you understand that you will not be able to go
back and sue them for not only the claims you've raised
in this case, but any claims that you may not have raised and
think you may wish to raise? In other words, a general
release will release all those claims that ...