United States District Court, E.D. California
AND RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDING THAT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION
TO ENFORCE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT, FULL PAYMENT TO ATTORNEY,
AND/OR ALLOW PLAINTIFF WITHDRAW SETTLEMENT AND PROCEED WITH
TRIAL BE DENIED ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST TO FILE
DISCOVERY (ECF NOS. 149 & 158) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE
WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS
Gonzalez is a state prisoner, and is the plaintiff in this
civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
which includes state law claims. This case was closed on
January 30, 2019 (ECF No. 145), based on a stipulation for
voluntary dismissal with prejudice, which was filed on
January 29, 2019 (ECF No. 144). Now before the Court is
Plaintiff's pro se Motion to Enforce Settlement
Agreement, Full Payment to Attorney, and/or to Allow
Plaintiff to Withdraw Settlement and Proceed with Trial. (ECF
alleges that on January 24, 2019, the parties agreed to
settle the case for $16, 500, with the settlement funds being
paid directly to Plaintiff's counsel. After the
settlement agreement was signed, defense counsel presented a
new settlement agreement, which allowed deductions from the
settlement amount for debts and liens, with the remaining
amount to be sent to Plaintiff's counsel. Plaintiff did
not sign this agreement.
also alleges that the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility
failed to comply with an order from the Superior Court of
California, County of Los Angeles, which reduced his
restitution to $5, 000. This failure to comply is the reason
Plaintiff requested that the full settlement amount be sent
to his counsel. Plaintiff asks the Court to order R.J.
Donovan Correctional Facility to comply with the order from
the Superior Court of California.
Plaintiff alleges that the settlement payment has not yet
been paid, and requests a telephonic conference to discuss
the problem with the payment process.
March 21, 2019, Defendants filed a response. (ECF No. 154).
Defendants allege that, under the terms of the settlement
agreement, the payment was to be made to Plaintiff's
inmate trust account. Defense counsel explained to
Plaintiff's counsel that changing the payee to
Plaintiff's counsel would require a new settlement
agreement or an addendum. “Ultimately, the parties
proceeded with the settlement agreement as written, and
placed the material terms of the agreement on the
record.” (Id. at 2).
the settlement conference, defense counsel contacted Mr. Goff
and offered to draft an addendum to the settlement agreement
to direct the settlement funds to Mr. Goff's client trust
account, rather than to Plaintiff's inmate trust account.
Defense counsel and Mr. Goff both signed the addendum, but
Plaintiff refused to sign.” (Id.) (citations
refused to sign the addendum because he claimed that his
restitution balance was inaccurate.” (Id.).
“Defense counsel promptly investigated the issue,
obtained a copy of the order, and forwarded it to the
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
(CDCR) for its consideration.” (Id.).
Plaintiff's inmate trust account statement was updated to
reflect that the amount Plaintiff owed for restitution was an
estimated amount of $4, 454.56.
do not oppose Plaintiff's motion insofar as Plaintiff
moves to enforce the settlement agreement as written,
including the provision whereby Plaintiff must pay his
restitution balance (which has been updated).”
if Plaintiff would like the settlement funds to be directed
to Mr. Goff's client trust account-which is contrary to
the terms in the settlement agreement-then Defendants require
that either: (A) the Court issue an order directing CDCR to
pay the settlement funds to Mr. Goff; or (B) Plaintiff sign
the addendum to the settlement agreement.”
(Id. at 3).
April 4, 2019, Plaintiff filed his reply. (ECF No. 156). On
April 22, 2019, Plaintiff filed a supplemental reply. (ECF
reply, Plaintiff alleges that, on March 12, 2019, in
retaliation for filing this case, he was transferred to Kern
Valley State Prison to attend a court proceeding. However,
there was no court proceeding. Additionally, he was placed on
an extremely violent prison yard.
also argues that the settlement amount was too low, and that
the case should proceed to trial, or the settlement amount
should be above $100, 000 and include full coverage medical
insurance for life. Plaintiff's family told him about the
public average for settlements in similar cases, and the
amount was significantly higher than what Plaintiff settled
for. Additionally, Plaintiff was seen by a “Neuro