United States District Court, N.D. California
September 20, 2005.
QUEEN ESTHER JACKSON, Plaintiff,
POSTMASTER GENERAL JOHN E. POTTER, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MAXINE CHESNEY, District Judge
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO SET ASIDE ORDER; GRANTING
MOTION TO CLARIFY
Before the Court is plaintiff Queen Esther Jackson's "Proposed
Order Plaintiffs Opposition to Compromise Settlement, to be
Signed by Judge Chesney," filed August 4, 2005, and which the
Court, by order filed August 17, 2005, has construed as a motion
to set aside the Court's Order Granting Defendant's Motion to
Enforce Settlement. Also before the Court is plaintiff's motion,
filed August 4, 2005, by which plaintiff requests clarification
of the Court's Order Granting Defendant's Motion to Enforce
Settlement. Defendant Postmaster General John E. Potter has filed
a response to plaintiff's motions, to which plaintiff has
Having considered the papers filed by the
parties, the Court rules as follows. A. Motion to Set Aside Order Granting Defendant's Motion to
By order filed July 25, 2005, the Court granted defendant's
motion to enforce a settlement agreement, finding a settlement
had been reached at a conference conducted on October 13, 2004 by
Magistrate Judge Maria Elena James. Plaintiff now seeks to set
aside the Court's order on the ground that plaintiff did not
agree to settle her claims.
In her opposition to defendant's motion to enforce the
settlement agreement, plaintiff argued that the proposed written
settlement agreement offered by defendant did not comport with
the terms of the parties' oral agreement. (See, e.g., Pl.'s
Opp. to Def.'s Mot. to Enforce Settlement, filed July 15, 2005,
at 3:8-9 ("The settlement agreement that [d]efendant wanted
[p]laintiff to sign does not reflect the facts and understanding
that Judge Maria Elena James set forth in the settlement
conference on October 13, 2004.").) The argument that plaintiff
now makes, specifically, that she did not agree to settle her
claims at all, is an entirely different argument. Plaintiff's new
argument is not based on "newly discovered evidence which by due
diligence could not have been discovered" as of July 15, 2005,
and thus is not a sufficient ground for reconsideration. See
Accordingly, plaintiff's motion to set aside the Court's order
will be denied.
B. Motion for Clarification
Plaintiff requests, in two respects, clarification of the
Court's order enforcing the settlement. The Court will grant the
motion, and, accordingly, provides the following clarification.
1. Crediting Plaintiff for 35 Years of Service
First, plaintiff asks, "Does the Order Granting Defendant's
Motion to Enforce Settlement require the Defendant to deposit
$14,941 into Plaintiff's retirement account with the Office of
Personnel Management, in order for Plaintiff to be credited for
35 years of service?" (See Pl.'s Mot. Requesting Clarification
Although the Court's order enforcing the parties' agreement
does not expressly reference defendant's obligation with respect
to the deposit of additional sums, the order does set forth the
parties' agreement that plaintiff is eligible to retire "with
credit for 35 years, 1 month, and 9 days of service (`35 years'), and without
the need for plaintiff to make further deposits into her
retirement account to obtain such credit." (See Order Granting
Def's Mot. to Enforce Settlement at 2:3-5.) Similarly, the Order
of Compromise Settlement provides: "Plaintiff is not required to
deposit additional monies into her retirement account in order to
obtain credit for 35 years of service." (See Order of
Compromise Settlement, filed August 2, 2005, ¶ 3.)
Defendant's response to plaintiff's motion for clarification
relies on the declaration of Marietta Harris ("Harris"), who
hypothesizes that plaintiff may be required to redeposit
withdrawn sums in the amount of $14,941 into her retirement
account in order to receive credit for 35 years of service.
(See Harris Decl., filed August 25, 2005, ¶ 5.) Defendant's
interpretation of the parties' agreement is unpersuasive. Indeed,
Harris, the declarant on which defendant relies, was present at
the settlement conference and, along with counsel for defendant,
placed the terms of the parties' agreement on the record,
including the term that plaintiff is not required to make any
additional payments into her retirement account in order to
obtain credit for 35 years of service, and, in particular, the
sum of $14,941. (See Rutter Decl., filed June 22, 2005, Ex. A
To answer plaintiff's question directly, the Court clarifies
that its order does not dictate the precise step or steps
defendant must take in order to afford plaintiff credit for 35
years of service. If defendant is able to accomplish such result
in some manner other than by making payments into plaintiff's
account, defendant is entitled to do so. Defendant, however, is
not allowed, under the express terms of the parties' agreement,
to require plaintiff to make additional deposits.
2. Worker's Compensation Benefits
Second, plaintiff asks the Court to find that "[t]he order does
not require Plaintiff to waive Plaintiff's rights to continue to
receive Worker's Compensation Benefits." (See Pl.'s Mot.
Requesting Clarification at 1:41-42.)
Both parties represent that, at the present time, plaintiff is
receiving workers compensation benefits for a job-related injury.
Nothing in the Court's order enforcing the parties' agreement requires that plaintiff "waive" such benefits
in order to receive the consideration promised by defendant.
Rather, the parties' agreement is that plaintiff is "entitle[d]
to retire" with "35 years of service," (see Order of Compromise
Settlement ¶ 2); no specific deadline by which plaintiff is
required to retire is included in the parties' agreement.
For the reasons stated:
1. Plaintiff's motion to set aside the Court's order enforcing
the parties' agreement is hereby DENIED; and
2. Plaintiff's motion for clarification is hereby GRANTED, and
clarification is provided as above.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
© 1992-2005 VersusLaw Inc.