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mmdesq
mmdesq, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 458
Experience:  Attorney with 13 years experience.
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I have been sued in Florida federal court by an old partner

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I have been sued in Florida federal court by an old partner for copyright infringement. We filed bankruptcy and both parties deceided to do a settlement agreement. I signed the settlemenet agreement and sent back to their lawyers but they never signed and sent a copy back to me. THey had originally agreed that after I signed the settlement agreement the lawsuit would be fropped within 7 days. Now they are saying that I have knew about something that I didnt disclose and that because of that I breached the settlement agreement and they are "exploring their options", and they didnt close the open federal lawsuit that is still hanging open out there. My question is this: It has been over a year since the lawsuit was filed and its just hanging out there open and nothing is happening. Isnt there a timeframe where they have to move forward or close it, one way or another? Also I didnt have the info they claim I had that would have breached the settlement agreement as they are claiming. I think they are just angry that I filed bankruptcy and want to find a way to continue to sue me. Does the original bankruptcy filing I filed protect me in any way from this or can they still sue me on this same issue? This and the timeframe question above are my two main questions. Please anwser if you have any experience in federal court cases or copyright infringement or similar type of situations.

mmdesq :

You have several options that I can see based upon the facts you have provided. A ch 7 bankruptcy, which is what I assume you filed, will discharge all unsecured debts owed at the time of filing. Hence, if this copyright claim alleged existed at time of filing or earlier it will be included as part of the debts eligible for discharge. If you executed a settlement agreement and the opposing party was to sign as well, it is possible to file a motion to enforce settlement agreement. I agree with you that they are angry over the bankruptcy filing. I would suggest completing the bankruptcy of not already done. Then you can file for sanctions if they push forward on their claim and/or file motion to enforce settlement in federal action. I hope this helps.

Customer:

yes they sued us last year in july and we filed in august and it was discharged in december 2011. so its bene 8 months now and were still waiting iwth no response. I dont understnad how we can file motion to enforce settlement when they are saying we breached the settlement agreement though? HOwever, we sent signed agreement back to them and they never even signed it or sent us a signed copy. so is the settlement agreement even valid if both parties havent signed. We think they are just dragging it out but we dont like an open federal lawsuit out there hanging above our heads and want to force them to either drop it (Which they have to due to bankruptcy right?)the bankruptcy included the lawsuit but we both agreed to settle after it was discharged so I am not sure what we need to do next?

mmdesq :

My advice remains unchanged. You can file a motion in federal action to enforce settlement agreement or push issue of discharge. Enforcement of settlement agreements routine come about when the parties reach an agreement to settle and one refuses to sign. However, it maybe easier to use the bankruptcy discharge. You need to check the federal court action's docket to see if a notice of bankruptcy file was filed in the Federal Action. That is what advises the federal court a bankruptcy was filed and the matter was stayed. Now that the case has been discharged you can advise opposing counsel of the discharge and that if he/she does not discontinue the action you will file sanctions in bankruptcy court for violation of discharge order.

Customer: The opposing counsel knew it was discharged back in December and still isn't doing anything an now they are claiming we violated the settlement agreement even though we didn't. AND they never even signed the settlement agreement so do we even have an agreement? Confused?
mmdesq :

File the notice of bankruptcy pleading to the federal action so the federal court is officially aware of the discharge and the matter will move forward. I would then demand it be dismissed or you will file for sanction because the bankruptcy discharge order has been violated because opposing attorney is attempting to collect a debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy.

Customer: Thx!
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