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Opposition to motion to enforce settlement agreement in California

An opposition to a motion to enforce settlement agreement in California under Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6 is the topic of this blog post. The opposition should be filed and served at least nine (9) court days before the hearing and should be served by personal delivery or overnight mail pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1005 unless the court has ordered otherwise.

Parties served with a motion to enforce a settlement agreement should carefully review the motion and all supporting documents to determine what grounds for opposition exist.

Numerous possible grounds exist for opposing a motion to enforce a settlement agreement but the most likely grounds would be that (1) the settlement agreement is not valid as the parties did not agree to all the material terms; (2) the settlement agreement was not signed by all the parties nor was it made orally before the court, thus the settlement agreement does not comply with Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6, and 3) the dismissal with or without prejudice of the lawsuit by the moving party deprived the Court of subject matter jurisdiction. This blog post will briefly discuss these 3 grounds.

The law is settled that a settlement agreement is not considered valid unless the parties agreed to all the material terms of the settlement. Because a settlement agreement is considered a contract the legal principles which apply to contracts apply in general to settlement agreements. A contract requires mutual assent. Any lack of mutual assent would render any settlement agreement invalid.

Additionally a settlement agreement is not enforceable under Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6 unless it has been signed by all of the parties to the agreement outside the presence of the Court or is made orally before the Court. The California Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal have that the settlement agreement must be signed by the litigants themselves. No other person such as an attorney, spouse or other agent may sign on behalf of a party.

Now we come to the third common ground for opposition. Some settlement agreements provide that the plaintiff will dismiss the action with or without prejudice upon all parties signing the settlement agreement. Unless the agreement states otherwise and the Court has been requested to retain jurisdiction over the parties to enforce the settlement agreement the Court is without power to grant the motion due to the fact that a dismissal terminates an action pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 581. After a case has been dismissed no court has any subject matter jurisdiction to grant any relief other than costs and fees.

Attorneys or parties in California who would like to view a portion of a 13 page sample opposition containing brief instructions, a memorandum of points and authorities with citations to case law and statutory authority, sample declaration and proof of service sold by the author can see below.

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is an entrepreneur and freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995 and has created over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation.

*Do you want to use this article on your website, blog or e-zine? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: “Stan Burman is the author of over 300 sample legal documents for California and Federal litigation and is the author of a free weekly legal newsletter. You can receive 10 free gifts just for subscribing. Just visit Subscribe to FREE weekly legal newsletter for more information.

Follow the author on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/LegalDocsPro

You can view sample legal document packages for sale by visiting http://www.legaldocspro.com/downloads.aspx

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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