United States District Court, E.D. California
CAROLYN K. DELANEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
19, 2017, a settlement conference was held in these 42 U.S.C.
§1983 actions and a settlement agreement was reached.
The terms of the agreement were recited on the record: in
exchange for plaintiff agreeing to dismiss these actions with
prejudice, the remaining defendants agree to pay plaintiff
$6, 000. The parties were ordered to file dispositional
documents within 30 days. A motion by defendants in both
actions to enforce the settlement agreement is before the
district court has the inherent power to enforce a complete
settlement agreement entered into while the litigation is
pending before it. In re City of Equities Anaheim,
Ltd., 22 F.3d 954, 957 (9th Cir. 1995); Callie v.
Near, 829 F.2d 888, 890 (9th Cir. 1987). This
enforcement power extends to oral agreements. Doi v.
Halekulani Corp., 276 F.3d 1131, 1138 (9th Cir. 2002).
The moving party has the burden of demonstrating that the
parties formed a legally enforceable settlement agreement.
In re Andreyev, 313 B.R. 302, 305 (B.A.P. 9th Cir.
2004) (citing 15A Am. Jur. 2d Compromise and Settlement
§ 57 (2000)).
construction and enforcement of settlement agreements are
governed by principles of local law which apply to
interpretation of contracts generally.” Jeff D. v.
Andrus, 899 F.2d 753, 759 (9th. Cir. 1989). Therefore,
even though the underlying cause of action presented in this
litigation is based upon a federal statute, this court
applies California law regarding the formation and
interpretation of contracts in determining whether a legally
enforceable settlement agreement was reached. United
Commercial Ins. Serv., Inc. v. Paymaster Corp., 962 F.2d
853, 856 (9th Cir. 1992); see also Harrop v. West.
Airlines, Inc., 550 F.2d 1143, 1145 (9th Cir. 1977)
(applying California law).
California, oral settlement agreements made before the court
and oral contracts are enforceable. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code
§ 664.6; Cal. Civ. Code § 1622. “The
essential elements of a contract are:  parties capable of
contracting;  the parties' consent;  a lawful
object; and  sufficient cause or consideration.”
Lopez v. Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., 13
Cal.Rptr.3d 544, 548 (Cal.Ct.App. 2004) (citing Cal. Civ.
Code § 1550). “Mutual assent usually is manifested
by an offer communicated to the offeree and an acceptance
communicated to the offeror.” Id. (citing Cal.
Civ. Code § 1565). The existence of mutual consent is
determined by objective criteria; the “parties'
outward manifestations must show that the parties all agreed
‘upon the same thing in the same sense.'”
Weddington Prod., Inc., v. Flick, 71 Cal.Rptr.2d
265, 277 (Cal.Ct.App. 1998) (quoting Cal. Civ. Code §
review of the transcript of the settlement conference
indicates that all of the factors identified above for the
creation of an enforceable oral settlement agreement have
been met and plaintiff generally does not dispute this.
Instead, he asserts for the second time that he should be
permitted to back out of the agreement because, at the
settlement conference, the magistrate judge incorrectly
informed plaintiff that a particular prisoner disciplinary
finding cannot be expunged due to the Supreme Court's
decision in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
As the court has already indicated in its August 28, 2017
order, there is no evidence that the presiding magistrate
judge misinformed plaintiff, and plaintiff's argument
concerning the expungement of the prisoner disciplinary
finding at issue does not provide any basis to set aside the
defendants' motion for enforcement of the settlement
agreement will be granted. As requested by defendants, the
court will order plaintiff to deliver to the defendants all
documents necessary to effectuate all of the terms of
settlement within 30 days. If plaintiff fails to do so, the
court will recommend that these actions be dismissed with
prejudice for plaintiff's failure to follow court orders
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). Defendants will
be ordered to file a stipulation of dismissal within 60 days.
If plaintiff fails to provide defendants with a signed
stipulation of dismissal, and if defendants have complied
with all of the terms of the settlement agreement with which
they could comply, defendants shall so inform the court and
the court will recommend dismissal with prejudice as
defendants ask the plaintiff be sanctioned in an amount they
consider equal to the cost of the preparation of their motion
for enforcement of the settlement agreement. At this point,
plaintiff has only opposed enforcement of the agreement which
the court does not view as amounting to “willful
disobedience of a court order” as suggested by
defendants. Plaintiff has made his arguments concerning the
expungement of a prison disciplinary finding and those
arguments have been rejected. Plaintiff is warned that
further reliance on those arguments as a basis for not
performing the terms required under the settlement agreement,
or any other bad faith reason for failing to perform, will
result in monetary sanctions along with dismissal of these
actions with prejudice.
accordance with the above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Defendants' October 5, 2017 motion for enforcement of
the settlement agreement reached on June 19, 2017 is granted.
2. Plaintiff shall deliver to defendants all documents
necessary to effectuate all of the terms of settlement in
these cases within 30 days.
3. Defendants shall file a stipulation of dismissal within 60
days unless plaintiff fails to provide defendants with a
signed stipulation of dismissal, in which case ...