United States District Court, S.D. New York
June 23, 2005.
NORMAN ALSTON, PEMBROOKE CALOX, INC., AND PEMBROOKE HOLDINGS, Plaintiffs,
ANNE STONE, RICHARD G. KLEIN, Esq., HOFHEIMER, GARTLIR AND GROSS, JOHN DOES 1-10, Individually, Jointly, Severally and in the Alternative, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT PATTERSON, Senior District Judge
OPINION AND ORDER
On March 24, 2005, the Clerk of the Court entered Judgment for
Defendants based on this Court's decision dated March 21, 2005,
granting Defendants' motion, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to dismiss the Reamended
Complaint of Norman Alston, Pembrooke Calox Inc. and Pembrooke
Holdings. On March 28, 2005, the Clerk of the Court advised
Plaintiffs of their right to appeal this Court's decision within
30 days of the filing of the Judgment.
On May 24, 2005, upon receipt of a Certificate of Mailing on
May 17, 2005, Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Enforce Settlement
Agreement together with exhibits "pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
60(b)." The motion asserts that the attorneys for the parties had
reached an agreement on December 8, 2004 to settle Plaintiffs'
claims, including fraud, RICO and attorney malpractice claims,
for $30,000, upon the approval of the bankruptcy judge and the
receipt of releases from Plaintiffs and the trustee in
bankruptcy.*fn1 Plaintiffs' Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement is denied
because it is not properly brought before this Court, as this
Court does not have inherent power to enforce the terms of any
settlement agreement between the parties. Kokkenen v. Guardian
Life Ins. Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375 (1994).
This action was dismissed on March 21, 2005, and Judgment was
entered on March 24, 2005. No notice of appeal was filed.
Judgment became final on April 23, 2005. Plaintiffs seek to bring
this motion pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure but do not seek to persuade the Court that its decision
of March 21, 2005 was entered by mistake, inadvertent error,
excusable neglect, newly discovered evidence, fraud or "any other
reason justifying relief from the operation of the Judgment."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). Instead, Plaintiffs solely seek to enforce
an alleged settlement reached between the parties for a fraction
of the damages claimed in their Reamended Complaint. Accordingly,
this motion is not properly brought pursuant to Rule 60(b).
In Kokkenen, the Supreme Court held that a district court,
which had dismissed a case in view of a settlement reached by the
parties, had no inherent power to enforce the terms of that
agreement absent a stipulation and order of dismissal reserving
jurisdiction in the district court to enforce the settlement
agreement. 511 U.S. at 380-82. In this case, no stipulation and
order of dismissal reserving jurisdiction has been so ordered by
the Court, nor was a stipulation of any sort ever submitted to
the Court. Indeed, prior to the filing of Plaintiffs' Motion to
Enforce Settlement Agreement, the Court was never apprised of any
settlement, or even negotiations, between the parties. Accordingly, there are no grounds for the Court to exercise
jurisdiction as Plaintiffs request. Judgment was final on April
23, 2005, and unless there is some independent basis for federal
jurisdiction, an action for enforcement of any settlement
agreement between the parties must be initiated in the state
courts. Plaintiffs' Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement is
denied for lack of jurisdiction.
IT IS SO ORDERED.