In this case, plaintiff has claimed neither duress by physical compulsion nor by threat. Plaintiff alleges duress by undue influence. Her claim, however, is that she was under the influence of her own attorney and not of the defendant. Duress by other than the opposing party to a contract cannot constitute compulsion sufficient to void the contract. E.E.O.C. v. American Exp. Pub. Co., 681 F. Supp. 216, 219 (S.D.N.Y. 1988)
Plaintiff's claim that the contract is void because it was not entered into knowingly and voluntarily is without merit. Therefore, the agreement is valid.
Defendant now moves for summary judgment and seeks enforcement of the agreement which bars plaintiff from bringing these Title VII claims. As stated above, plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily entered into the agreement which requires her to withdraw her claims against defendant. Plaintiff is now precluded from pursuing these claims. DiMartino v. City of Hartford, 636 F. Supp. 1241, 1244 (D. Conn. 1986) (valid settlement agreement bars the parties on the underlying claim).
A voluntary settlement agreement is a contract which is both binding and conclusive. Janneh v. GAF Corp., 887 F.2d 432, 436 (2d Cir. 1989), cert. denied 498 U.S. 865, 112 L. Ed. 2d 141, 111 S. Ct. 177 (1990) "Where the parties to a dispute have entered into a valid settlement agreement to pending litigation, that agreement will be enforced by the court."
DiMartino, 636 F. Supp. at 1244. See also Janneh, 887 F.2d at 435 (Congress encourages the voluntary settlement of employment discrimination claims); Dalessandro v. Monk, 864 F.2d 6 (2d Cir. 1988) (plaintiff who settled claim could not sue on the same EEOC claim in federal court).
As discussed above, plaintiff's claim that she entered into the agreement under coercion is without merit. Plaintiff contends that the agreed-upon settlement payment is inadequate to discharge her claims, however, this is not a satisfactory basis for her to renege on the contract. "A party to a settlement cannot avoid the agreement merely because she subsequently believes the settlement insufficient. . . ." Glass v. Rock Island Refining Corp., 788 F.2d 450, 454 (7th Cir. 1986). See also Worthy v. McKesson Corp., 756 F.2d 1370, 1373 (8th Cir. 1985). Plaintiff's change of mind does not excuse her from performance of her obligations under the settlement agreement.
Defendant has substantially performed its duties under the agreement. Defendant rescinded plaintiff's discharge and accepted her voluntary resignation. To date, however, defendant has not paid plaintiff the amount due under the agreement. When a settlement agreement does not specify a particular time by which payment must be made, the court implies a requirement that payment be made within a reasonable time. Janneh v. GAF Corp., 887 F.2d at 436. Approximately one month after the execution of the agreement, plaintiff had not withdrawn her claims and apparently had refused to do so. Defendant, showing its continuing intention to honor the agreement, tendered a check to the State payable to plaintiff. Therefore, any claim that defendant repudiated the agreement is without merit. See Taylor v. Gordon Flesch Co., 793 F.2d 858 (7th Cir. 1986). Moreover, even if defendant had breached the agreement, plaintiff could not rescind her agreement to withdraw her claims. See Dalessandro, 864 F.2d at 8, n.1.
Therefore, both parties are bound by the settlement agreement. Accordingly, plaintiff is barred from bringing a federal action against defendant on these claims. In addition, defendant is directed to comply with its outstanding obligation to plaintiff pursuant to the agreement. Defendant is hereby ordered to pay plaintiff the full amount due under the agreement plus statutory interest from February 8, 1987
to the date of payment.
Defendant's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED;
It is hereby ORDERED that defendant pay plaintiff the contracted settlement amount of $ 2,750 plus statutory interest from February 7, 1987 until the date of payment.
Dated: Brooklyn, New York
June 30, 1993
Sterling Johnson, Jr.