United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
OPINION AND ORDER
SCHANZLE-HASKINS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Plaintiff Richard M. Smego filed this action complaining of
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs
concerning dental care while a resident of the Department of
Human Services detention facility located in Rushville,
Illinois. Defendant Wexford Health Sources, Inc. contracts
with the Department of Human Services to provide dental care
to the residents of the DHS detention facility. The
individual Defendants are employed in various capacities at
the DHS facility.
20, 2017, the Court conducted a settlement conference.
Participating in the settlement conference were the Plaintiff
Richard Smego and defense counsel, Douglass Bitner, Kyle
Rockershousen, and Theresa Powell. The parties reached a
settlement agreement. The settlement agreement was stated by
the Court and all parties orally agreed to the terms of the
stated settlement agreement.
12, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Reopen Settlement
Conference (d/e 44) (Motion). Plaintiff's essential
complaint was that the Defendants' tendered settlement
agreements to him did not conform with the agreed settlement
reached by the parties on June 20, 2017. Defendants filed no
responses to Plaintiff's Motion.
reviewing the Motion, the Court ordered the Plaintiff to
produce all settlement agreements referred to in his Motion
to the Court for in camera review. (8/15/2017 Text Order)
Plaintiff forwarded the documents to the Court as ordered and
the undersigned reviewed the settlement documents tendered to
reviewing the documents, the Court ordered a telephonic
settlement conference among the parties on October 13, 2017,
at 1:30 p.m. The settlement conference took place.
Participating in the conference were Plaintiff Richard Smego
and defense attorneys Joseph Rupcich, Kyle Rockershousen, and
Theresa Powell, representing their respective Defendants.
RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REOPEN AND ORDER
REGARDING ENFORCEMENT OF SETTLEMENT
Court “possesses the inherent or equitable power
summarily to enforce an agreement to settle a case pending
before it.” Wilson v. Wilson, 46 F.3d 660, 664
(7th Cir. 1995). See also Brewer v. National
R.R. Passenger Corp., 165 Ill.2d 100, 105, 649 N.E.2d
1331, 1333 (Ill. 1995) (Under Illinois law, a court has
authority to enforce a settlement agreement in a case pending
before it.). This case is currently pending before this
Court: judgment has not been entered; the case has not been
dismissed. This Court has jurisdiction over this matter.
agreements are contracts. Courts apply ordinary contract
construction principles to determine the enforceability and
construction of the settlement agreement. See United
States v. Rand Motors, 305 F.3d 770, 774 (7th
Cir. 2002); Allstate Financial Corp., 936 F.Supp. at
527. Illinois law controls since the agreement was made in
Illinois. See Dillard v. Starcon Intern., Inc., 483
F.3d 502, 506-07 (7th Cir. 2007) (state law
controls enforcement of settlement agreements, even if the
underlying claims are based on federal law).
Illinois law, oral settlement agreements announced by the
parties in open court are enforceable as long as there has
been an offer and acceptance and a meeting of the minds as to
the material terms of the agreement. Dillard, 483
F.3d at 507; Wilson v. Wilson, 46 F.3d 660, 666-67
(7th Cir. 1995). “Whether a ‘meeting
of the minds' occur[s] depends on the parties'
objective conduct, not their subjective beliefs.”
Dillard, 483 F.3d at 507. The terms of the
settlement agreement need not be recorded as long as they
were agreed to before the Court. See Rose v.
Mavrakis, 343 Ill.App.3d 1086, 1096-97, 799 N.E.2d 469,
478 ( Ill. App. 1st Dist. 2003) (oral settlement
agreement reached in settlement conference conducted by the
court is enforceable).
oral settlement agreements are enforceable as long as their
terms are sufficiently definite. “Under Illinois law,
‘[a] contract is sufficiently definite and certain to
be enforceable if the court is enabled from the terms and
provisions thereof, under proper rules of construction and
applicable principles of equity, to ascertain what the
parties have agreed to do.'” Wilson, 46
F.3d at 667 (quoting Academy Chicago Publishers v.
Cheever, 144 Ill.2d 24, 161 Ill.Dec. 335, 337, 578
N.E.2d 981, 983 (1991)). Such agreements are enforceable even
if the parties did not spell out nonessential details.
Rose, 799 N.E.2d at 474.
case, the parties entered into an enforceable settlement
agreement on June 20, 2017 in open court. The objective
conduct of the parties demonstrated that there was a meeting
of the minds. Plaintiff and counsel for all Defendants
appeared in person and agreed to the material terms of the
settlement before this Court.
parties agreed that the terms of the settlement would be
confidential. The Court made an audio recording of the terms
of the settlement and each of the parties agreed that the
terms stated by the Court were the terms of “our
settlement”. During the October 13, 2017, conference
call, the Court reviewed the specific terms of the settlement
with Plaintiff and the attorneys for the respective
Defendants. Based upon the legal principles set forth above,
the Court ...