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Nsi International, Inc. v. Mustafa

United States District Court, E.D. New York

March 26, 2014

NSI INTERNATIONAL, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
MONA MUSTAFA, Defendant.

Plaintiff is represented by Jamie Scott Felsen and Joseph M. Labuda, Milman Labuda Law Group, PLLC, Lake Success, NY.

Defendant is pro se.

ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

JOSEPH F. BIANCO, District Judge.

Plaintiff NSI International, Inc. filed this suit against pro se defendant Mona Mustafa to enforce a settlement agreement ("the Settlement") reached between the parties in July 2011. (See First Amended Complaint ("FAC"); Ex. A to FAC.) The Settlement addressed any claims defendant, a former employee of plaintiff, may have had against plaintiff arising out of her termination in December 2008. (Id.) In short, the present summary judgment motion argues that, even after signing the Settlement and accepting payment under it, defendant continued to litigate a discrimination action against plaintiff before the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("IHRC"). Defendant has argued that the Settlement is unenforceable for a variety of reasons, and has filed a separate motion for sanctions.

Before the Court is a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") from Magistrate Judge Tomlinson, as well as defendant's objections to the R&R and plaintiff's reply to those objections. The R&R recommends that the Court grant plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and enforce the Settlement, and that the Court deny defendant's motion for sanctions.

For the reasons that follow, having reviewed the entire R&R de novo, the Court adopts Magistrate Judge Tomlinson's thorough and well-reasoned R&R in its entirety.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The parties first appeared before this Court in April 2009, when defendant removed an action filed by plaintiff in the New York State Supreme Court, County of Suffolk. In July 2011, the parties conducted a settlement conference before this Court, and agreed to resolve all claims defendant may have had related to her termination from plaintiff's employ in exchange for $60, 000. (Ex. A to FAC.)

On November 8, 2012, plaintiff initiated the current lawsuit against defendant, alleging that she breached the Settlement by continuing to litigate her discrimination case against plaintiff before the IHRC. Plaintiff amended the complaint on December 5, 2012. Defendant answered the amended complaint on February 15, 2013, and plaintiff moved for summary judgment on March 22, 2013. Defendant opposed the motion on April 24, 2013, and plaintiff replied in further support of the motion on May 6, 2013. Defendant filed a sur-reply on May 13, 2013, to which plaintiff replied on May 30, 2013.

On July 11, 2013, the Court referred the summary judgment motion to Magistrate Judge Tomlinson for a Report and Recommendation. Defendant then filed a letter on August 22, 2013 seeking leave to move for sanctions against plaintiff's counsel, and to strike the FAC, which plaintiff opposed on August 29, 2013. The Court construed defendant's letter as an additional motion and referred it to Magistrate Judge Tomlinson on September 20, 2013.

Magistrate Judge Tomlinson issued the R&R on February 25, 2014, and noted that any objections to the R&R were due within 14 days. On March 11, 2014, defendant filed her objections, and plaintiff replied to those objections on March 25, 2014.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A district judge may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings and recommendations of the Magistrate Judge. See DeLuca v. Lord, 858 F.Supp. 1330, 1345 (S.D.N.Y. 1994); Walker v. Hood, 679 F.Supp. 372, 374 (S.D.N.Y. 1988). As to those portions of a report to which no "specific written objection" is made, the Court may accept the findings contained therein, as long as the factual and legal bases supporting the findings are not clearly erroneous. Santana v. United States, 476 F.Supp.2d 300, 302 (S.D.N.Y. 2007); Greene v. WCI Holdings Corp., 956 F.Supp. 509, 513 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). When "a party submits a timely objection to a report and recommendation, the district judge will review the parts of the report and recommendation to which the party objected under a de novo standard of review." Jeffries v. Verizon, 10-CV-2686 (JFB)(AKT), 2012 WL 4344188, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 21, 2012); see also 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(b)(1)(C) ("A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made."); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3) ("The ...


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