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Settlement Agreement Questions

A settlement agreement is a way to end a civil lawsuit when the two parties involved decide it will be their advantage to end the dispute and settle without further litigation. The agreement is a legal, binding contract between the parties. Usually, the defendant will agree to pay a certain amount of money, either in a lump sum or over a specified period of time, to the plaintiff in exchange for ending the lawsuit. The specific terms and conditions of this contract will be laid out in the settlement agreement.

Listed below are a few questions answered by business lawyers on settlement agreements.

Can a signed handwritten settlement agreement be seen as a valid contract?

A valid settlement agreement that has been signed does not become invalid just because it was handwritten. So yes, it should be valid.

If a settlement agreement is created in a civil court case and the plaintiff and defendants are stipulated as parties to this settlement, do all of them have to sign the document for it to be binding?

Yes, all the parties would have to sign the settlement for it to be binding. You can also proceed to trial with those who decide not to sign the agreement.

I filed a lawsuit against a company and now need to sign a settlement agreement with them. The first part of the agreement states: This confidential Settlement and Release agreement executed on the date set forth below is made and entered between "My Name", his representatives, heirs and assigns, in favor of "Company Name". Is the phrase “in favor” standard usage and what does it imply?

This seems like standard language. From what you have said it seems like the company is paying you and in exchange you are being asked to sign a settlement and release agreement. If the rest of the agreement seems fine, this phrase doesn’t seem like anything you have to worry about.

A settlement agreement from one shareholder’s lawyer to another shareholder’s lawyer first states that they accept the clients offer, then goes on to list properties that are being divided, and then finally mentions the amount of money involved in the transaction. Can this be upheld in court?

If the details of the settlement are listed in the agreement, it can be upheld in court unless one party was defrauded into being a part of the settlement agreement in the first place.

I cancelled a pending trial by entering into a settlement agreement. Part of the agreement was to not disclose contents of the agreement to my customers. This part of the agreement was breached. I am wondering if I can re-open the case based on the occurrence and withhold any payments that were part of the agreement.

To begin with, two wrongs do not make a right: Two breaches do not set everything right. You could go back to court to try and remedy this to the extent that the agreement has been breached. But in doing so, if you then breach the agreement in return, you could face legal consequences and the problem will only worsen.

If the case was dismissed, it would not be possible to just re-open it. Depending on the way the case was dismissed, you might have to re-file it. In the event that the matter has not been dismissed yet, you may still be able to put the issue back on the court's calendar.

Very often, cases can be settled either at the beginning or at some point in the negotiations through a settlement agreement. In many forums, judges welcome the opportunity to allow parties to decide the outcome of their case based on mutual understandings embodied in an agreement. Any agreement reached should also be simple and uncomplicated to lower the possibility of future litigation with regard to breaches of the agreement. Seeking the advice of a legal expert in this matter may be advisable.

Ask a Business Lawyer

Law Pro
Law Pro, Attorney
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 1774
Experience:  20 years experience in business law - sole proprietor, partnership, and corporations
11688690
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Business Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

Law Pro
Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 1767
20 years experience in business law - sole proprietor, partnership, and corporations
Dimitry K., Esq.
Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 1495
Run my own successful business/contract law practice.
MShore Law
Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 1233
Drafted Negotiated and/or Reviewed Thousands of Commercial Agreements

Recent Settlement Questions

  • I am helping a friend who is being sued by a Plaintiff who

    I am helping a friend who is being sued by a Plaintiff who was a lawyer he retained for advice during probate. The Plaintiff has kept two separate sets of invoices, one set was for services rendered to the defendant for his sole benefit, the other set was for services rendered to the estate.
    He is being sued for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
    There is no written contract for her services to solely for his benefit. There is a countersigned agreement in the Estate with a couple of paragraphs that outline attorney compensation for mediation purposes to be paid by the estate if the majority of beneficiaries agree and the representative person does not object.
    The estate closed after the attorney unsuccessfully attempted to plead for lawyer fees. She was paid by the defendant in the amount of the depleted retainer for her services that solely benefited the defendant.
    During her pleading in probate, she asked for 60 day extensions 3 times in order to produce documents showing that she performed services that benefited the estate. The 3rd motion was overruled, and her motion for fees was dismissed and the estate closed.
    Similarly, she has also missed filing dates in the civil case and has been granted leave 2 times to get her documents in order.
    The defendant has since reached a point where keeping an attorney on retainer in his case has become financially illogical. There have now been 2 amended complaints, and 3 motions to dismiss and finally 6 affirmative defenses, including Statute of Frauds and Collateral Estoppel.
    The Defendants attorney has withdrawn due to lack of retainer and the court has given the defendant 30 days to obtain new counsel or defend himself pro se.
    I have the entire case file for the estate and for the civil charge.
    I will be helping the Defendant with an Ethics complaint, and try to figure out how to put on the best pro se defense we can along with a counter claim.
    At this point, I need to know what happens next and move this case along.
    Should we ask for more time to find a lawyer, even though all of the lawyers contacted so far will not represent on contingency?
    She we immediately let the court know that the defendant will be representing himself pro se, so that there is no delay in getting the motion to dismiss heard?
    After the issue of representation is sorted out, what is next?
    Do we wait for an answer from the Plaintiff or a ruling from the judge on the motion?
    Do we go ahead with a counter claim? (She is bleeding him in the court system by using her position as a lawyer to tie him up with procedural tactics and her invoices appear fraudulent).
    Please answer those questions. I don't know that finding a lawyer is going to be an option at this point. He has paid out so much to lawyers and most of that money is going to dealing with procedural stuff that doesn't resolve any of the actual merits of the Estate or this case.
  • In a legal settlement my ex-employer is attempting to limit

    In a legal settlement my ex-employer is attempting to limit my future employment - meaning, if they were for instance to purchase my current employer, they would terminate me and not allow me to continue to work there if it became a wholly owned subsidiary. Is this legal? How can I settle WITHOUT agreeing to this term?
  • Thanx

    Thanx

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