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Lebel v. Chertoff

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


March 4, 2008

DEBORAH LEBEL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Larry Alan Burns United States District Judge

ORDER RE RESPONSE

In response to the court's Order requiring the parties to meet and confer regarding plaintiff's January 2008 contention defendants failed to fulfill certain provisions of the parties' March 2002 Settlement Agreement in this action, they have filed a Joint Submission. They explain the nature of the controversy surrounding agency review of its handling of plaintiff's workers' compensation claims giving rise to her original Complaint and certain logistical problems associated with obtaining the documentation necessary to make computations necessary to fulfill the Settlement Agreement terms plaintiff contends were not fulfilled so long after the fact.

The undersigned District Judge presided over the settlement negotiations while serving as a Magistrate Judge, and retained jurisdiction to arbitrate any disputes arising from the Settlement Agreement, with the consent of the parties. The parties inform the court they are in the process now of gathering the necessary documentation, to the extent it may still exist. Defendant will review those documents to ascertain whether the agency correctly reported plaintiff's injuries and income, and will communicate its position to plaintiff in writing thereafter, followed by another meet and confer conference to determine whether plaintiff still desires the court's review of any disparities in their positions. If so, the parties propose to obtain a briefing schedule from the court for submission of their respective positions for its decision.

The Joint Submission permits the inference the process of ascertaining whether court intervention is desired may reasonably be completed by mid-April 2008. In consideration of the fact the settlement in this action occurred six years ago, defendant's relevant review and calculation obligations under the Settlement Agreement were to have been performed within six months of the execution of the Settlement Agreement, and plaintiff has approached the court so belatedly,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED the parties shall inform the court on or before April 21, 2008 whether they have an actual dispute arising from the Settlement Agreement or not. If so, the court will accept the parties' briefing of their respective positions according to a schedule to be established in a telephonic conference with chambers, and will resolve their dispute, at which time it will terminate any continued jurisdiction over the matter. If not, the court will terminate its previous retention of jurisdiction over implementation of the terms of the Settlement Agreement in consideration of the narrow and precise scope of the agreement terms that ought long ago to have been resolved.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20080304

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