United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ENFORCE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT RE:
ECF NO. 295
TIGAR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff Ellen Hardin's motion to enforce
settlement agreement. ECF No. 295. As discussed below, the
Court concludes that the parties have an enforceable
settlement agreement, but that the terms of the agreement are
contrary to the position set forth in Hardin's motion.
The Court will therefore grant the motion in part and deny it
Ellen Hardin brings this employment case, including
allegations of retaliation under the federal False Claims
Act, against her former employer, Mendocino Coast District
Hospital (“MCDH”). She has also named the
following individuals as defendants: Bob Edwards, MCDH's
chief executive officer; Steve Lund, the president of
MCDH's board of directors; and Wade Sturgeon, MCDH's
chief financial officer.
parties attended a mediation session with a private mediator,
Lynn Frank, on September 22, 2019. ECF No. 295 at 10; ECF No.
313-1 ¶ 2; ECF No. 313-2 ¶ 2. The mediator
circulated a mediator's proposal on September 23,
2019. ECF No. 313-3; ECF No. 312 ¶ 3. Among
other terms, the proposal stated that:
1. Defendant shall pay to Plaintiff the sum of $2, 750, 000.
. . .
3. The payment will be made for personal injury damages to
attorney Twila White's Client Trust Account pursuant to a
Form 1099. Plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney reserve the
option to structure all or a portion of the settlement
proceeds and defendant shall coordinate with [a]
structured annuity planner with respect to ensuring proper
IRS language is included in the release and assignment not to
void using a structured settlement.
ECF No. 313-3 at 2 (emphasis added). The remaining terms are
not in dispute.
September 27, 2019, Defendants and their counsel signed a
revised memorandum of understanding that they sent to the
mediator. ECF No. 313-1 ¶ 6; ECF No. 313-2 ¶ 4; ECF
No. 313-4. The MOU revised paragraphs 1 and 3 as follows:
1. MCDH and/or its insurer, BETA Healthcare Group, a
California joint powers agreement (hereinafter
“BETA”) shall pay to Plaintiff the sum of $2,
750, 000.00 (“Settlement Sum”).
. . .
3. The Settlement Sum will be paid by check made payable to
“Ellen Hardin and the Trust Account of the Law Office
of Twila S. White.” Appropriate IRS Forms 1099 shall be
issued[.] Plaintiff reserves the option to structure all or a
portion of the settlement proceeds into an annuity.
ECF No. 313-4 at 2-3. Notably, Defendants did not include in
the revised MOU any reference to their coordination with a
structured annuity planner or any other obligations with