United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
TOOLA O. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
JUSTIN HAMMERS, et al. Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
SCHANZLE-HASKINS, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
cause has been referred the undersigned for a Report and
Recommendation on the Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement
filed by Defendant (d/e 44). The undersigned recommends that
the Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement be GRANTED on the
terms set forth below.
Plaintiff Toola Taylor filed this action alleging a First
Amendment retaliation claim against Defendant Justin Hammers.
Plaintiff maintains that Defendant damaged Plaintiff's
fan, dumped Plaintiff's coffee in the toilet, and
otherwise ransacked Plaintiff's prison cell during a
search, all in retaliation for a grievance Plaintiff had
filed against Defendant. The claim survived summary judgment,
but Judge Myerscough noted in that order that the claim
should settle (d/e 38), and the case was referred to the
undersigned for a settlement conference.
November 1, 2018, the settlement conference was held and the
parties reached a settlement agreement. The Court recorded
the material terms of the settlement. The Court has reviewed the
recording. The material terms of the settlement were that
Plaintiff would dismiss this case if the Court entered an
order striking Plaintiff's obligation to pay the
remainder of the filing fee in this case, which at that time
was $344.10. The Court stated that an order discharging
Plaintiff's obligation on the filing fee balance would be
entered after a signed stipulation of dismissal was filed.
(11/1/18 text order.)
counsel prepared a stipulation of dismissal and sent the
stipulation to Plaintiff, per the Court's direction.
Plaintiff, however, refused to sign the stipulation and still
refuses to sign the stipulation. Plaintiff maintains that he
agreed to dismiss the case only if Defendant personally paid
the filing fee balance, as Plaintiff had offered in a letter
to defense counsel dated October 16, 2018. (d/e 45, p. 4.)
Court has the inherent power to enforce a completed
settlement agreement, provided that jurisdiction exists.
Wilson v. Wilson, 46 F.3d 660, 664 (7th Cir. 1995).
This case is currently pending before this Court; judgment
has not been entered, and the case has not been dismissed.
The Court has jurisdiction over this matter.
settlement agreement is reached in open court the settlement
agreement is seen as a final and complete resolution of the
case. Herron v. City of Chicago, 618 F.Supp. 1405,
1407 (N.D. Ill. 1985). A settlement agreement is enforced as
any other contract, applying state law. 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); Carr v. Runyan, 89 F.3d 327,
331 (7th Cir. 1996).
settlement agreements are enforceable under Illinois law so
long as there has been a clearly defined offer, acceptance,
and a meeting of the minds. Dillard, 483 F.3d at
507; Wilson, 46 F.3d at 666; Kim v. Alvey,
Inc., 322 Ill.App.3d 657, 669 (2001). Whether a meeting
of the minds occurred depends on the parties' objective
conduct rather than their subjective beliefs.
Dillard, 483 F.3d at 507. Such oral agreements are
enforceable as long as their terms are sufficiently definite,
even if the parties did not spell out nonessential details.
Wilson, 46 F.3d at 667.
asserts that his understanding of the agreement was that
Defendant would personally pay the filing fee balance.
Plaintiff states that he never intended to allow Defendant to
avoid all personal responsibility. Plaintiff maintains that
his impression was that the Court had to strike
Plaintiff's obligation to pay the filing fee in order to
allow the fee to be paid by Defendant.
recording of the terms of the settlement clearly contradict
Plaintiff's assertions. Those terms were simple:
Plaintiff agreed to stipulate to dismiss the case in return
for the Court striking Plaintiff's obligation to pay the
filing fee balance. Plaintiff agreed on the record to those
terms with no mention of Defendant paying the filing fee
balance. That Plaintiff made a prior written offer to dismiss
this case if Defendant paid the filing fee to the Court does
not change the terms of the settlement agreement reached by
IS, THEREFORE, RECOMMENDED that based upon the
authority cited above, the parties had a binding oral