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United States District Court, Southern District of New York

June 12, 2003


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Laura Taylor Swain, District Judge


On May 29, 2003, the Court received an executed stipulation of settlement, dated May 15, 2003, providing for the dismissal of all claims against all Defendants in this action in return for a payment of $4,000. The Court "so-ordered" the stipulation on May 30, 2003. On June 2, 2003, the Court received from Plaintiff a document, captioned "Motion to withdraw Settlement Agreem\with enclosed exhibits." In that document, Plaintiff asserts that he has been on psychotropic medication, was under the impression that he was settling for $13,000 and only learned through another inmate that the settlement amount was "only $6,000[sic]," and that the office of the Corporation Counsel intimidated him into settling by asserting that the Court would never grant him the discovery he desires. He asserts that he does not want to settle for $6,000, and complains that Magistrate Judge Dolinger, who has overseen general pretrial proceedings in this case, has rejected his discovery-related applications. Attached to the document are copies of Department of Correction Investigative reports that, Plaintiff asserts, confirm that the incident of which he complains in this action took place and constitute admissions that he was assaulted at the prison facility. The Court will refer to this document, and its attachments, as "Motion W."

On June 6, 2003, the Court received from Plaintiff another document, captioned "Notice & Motion to Compel & imposition of sanctions of $750 from 1-1-03 until," in which Plaintiff again complains that he has not been afforded discovery and that Magistrate Judge Dolinger has not granted his requests to compel discovery and for various discovery-related sanctions. He seeks an order compelling Defendants to produce "every piece of discovery" he has requested since the commencement of this action and imposing a $750 per day monetary sanction retroactively to January 1, 2003. He also offers to settle the entire action for $9,955. The Court will refer to this second document as "Motion S."

The Court having reviewed thoroughly the settlement agreement, Plaintiff's submissions, and the record in this matter, Motion W is hereby denied. Plaintiff's frequent, lengthy and complex written communications with this Court, including his submissions in aid of the instant motions, belie his assertions that he was unable to comprehend the content of the clear, typewritten settlement stipulation at the time he signed it. The amount of the settlement, which is $4,000, is written in both words and figures, and is printed in bold type on the first page. Furthermore, Plaintiff's settlement demand had been $9,955 for some time before the settlement was concluded, again belying any basis for an understanding or assumption that the case had been settled for $13,000. Plaintiff has proffered no appropriate basis for relief from the stipulated order dismissing the case. Cf. Fed R.Civ.P. 59e, 60(b). The Court further notes that, while the exhibits attached to Motion W do confirm that an incident involving assaults took place, they demonstrate that the correction officers involved assert that their actions were provoked by an assault from Plaintiff — thus there are issues of fact in this case and it is by no means clear that Plaintiff would have been able to prevail on his claims had he not decided to enter into a settlement.

Motion S is moot in light of the Court's ruling on Motion W. Furthermore, to the extent Motion S seeks reconsideration, reversal or modification of Judge Dolinger's several orders denying Plaintiff's discovery applications, it is untimely and fails to demonstrate that Judge Dolinger's rulings were clearly erroneous or contrary to law. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). Motion S is, accordingly, denied.



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