Filing a motion to enforce a settlement agreement in California is the topic of this blog post. The motion is made under Code of Civil Procedure Section 664.6 and is filed by a party seeking to enforce a settlement agreement entered into in any pending litigation in California.
Code of Civil Procedure § 664.6 states that, “If parties to pending litigation stipulate, in a writing signed by the parties outside the presence of the court or orally before the court, for settlement of the case, or part thereof, the court, upon motion, may enter judgment pursuant to the terms of the settlement. If requested by the parties, the court may retain jurisdiction over the parties to enforce the settlement until performance in full of the terms of the settlement.”
This means that if a settlement is reached in a pending civil case in California, and the parties have signed a written settlement agreement, or have stipulated to a settlement in open court, and one party does not comply with the terms of the settlement agreement, than the other party can file a motion to request that the court enter judgment pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement under Code of Civil Procedure § 664.6.
The procedure provided by Section 664.6 applies where settlement is reached in pending litigation. The statute states that any written agreement outside court must be signed by the parties. This has been interpreted by the Courts to mean that the settlement must be signed by both the party seeking to enforce the settlement and the party against whom it is to be enforced.
So long as the terms of the settlement are sufficiently definite to enable the courts to give it an exact meaning, the court is authorized to enter judgment on the settlement. A settlement agreement that incorporates other documents can be enforced pursuant to section 664.6 if there was a meeting of the minds regarding the terms of the incorporated documents.
Moreover, disputes regarding the terms of the settlement itself may be adjudicated on a section 664.6 motion on the basis of declarations or evidence. And in a ruling on a motion under section 664.6, the trial judge may receive oral testimony, documentary testimony or declarations.
Section 664.6 also empowers the judge hearing the motion to determine disputed factual issues that have arisen regarding the settlement agreement.If the terms of the settlement agreement provide that any party seeking to enforce the terms of the settlement agreement who prevails is entitled to attorney fees and costs, than the prevailing party on any motion to enforce settlement agreement is entitled to recover their attorney fees and costs incurred in bringing or defending the motion.
Attorneys or parties in California who would like to view a portion of a sample motion to enforce settlement agreement can see below a sample motion sold by the author complete with a memorandum of points and authorities with full citations to case and statutory authority, and a sample declaration.
The author of this article, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995. Visit his website at http://www.legaldocspro.com
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