Id. Importantly, "[a] party to a settlement cannot avoid the agreement merely because he subsequently believes the settlement insufficient -- If a party to a Title VII suit who has previously authorized a settlement changes his mind ... that party remains bound by the terms of the agreement." Id. at 454-55.
"Whether a plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily agreed to settle his Title VII claims is a question of fact." Id. at 455. Based on Brown's letter to the Court, the Court does not find it necessary to conduct a hearing on this matter. It appears clear to the Court that Brown knowingly and voluntarily agreed to settle her Title VII claims for $ 15,000.
The Court has affidavits from two of Brown's attorneys and counsel for the City of Aurora. All of the affiants state that the case settled for $ 15,000.
More importantly, however, is Brown's letter. As noted above, she requested $ 20,000, but, in her own words, "agreed to the settlement of $ 15,000." By initially requesting $ 20,000, Brown obviously had some insight as to what her case was worth. When Brown's attorney contacted her by telephone informing her of the $ 15,000 settlement offer, he advised her that she should take the offer. Brown wanted time to think about it. She telephoned her mother for advice. Shortly thereafter, Brown "agreed to the settlement of $ 15,000" and communicated her intentions to her attorney, who, in turn, informed defense counsel. Brown's letter supports the conclusion that she knowingly and voluntarily agreed to settle the case for $ 15,000.
Brown is bound by the terms of her agreement. Merely because Brown now believes, in hindsight, that her case was worth more than $ 15,000 is not a sufficient basis to disregard the agreement entered into by the parties. Brown's motion to reinstate the case is denied.
Date: MAR 31 1997
JAMES H. ALESIA
United States District Judge
© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.