United States District Court, D. Kansas
GRETTA E. SMTIH, Plaintiff,
VIA CHRISTI and ASSOCIATES, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
W. BROOMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on Defendants' motion to
enforce settlement. (Doc. 27). For the reasons stated below,
Defendants' motion is GRANTED.
pro se, filed an action alleging claims of favoritism,
blackmail, and discrimination based on her race and sex in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Plaintiff also claims that she was subjected to retaliation
because of her request to transfer and a dispute about the
accuracy of a performance evaluation. (Doc. 1.)
to Defendant's motion, the parties attended a mediation
session on March 26, 2018, and reached an agreement for
resolution of the action. (Doc. 28 at 2.) The agreement was
memorialized in a signed Memorandum of Understanding. (Doc.
28-2.) Plaintiff, soon after receiving a formalized
Settlement and Release agreement, allegedly notified
Defendants and the mediator that she refused to sign the
agreement and demanded $115, 000 in exchange for dismissing
the action. (Doc. 28, at 2.)
now requests that the court enforce the parties'
settlement agreement and dismiss Plaintiff's complaint as
set forth in the signed agreement. Plaintiff has not
responded to the motion, and her time for doing so has now
district court has the authority to “summarily enforce
a settlement agreement” which was entered into by the
parties. United States v. Hardage, 982 F.2d 1491,
1496 (10th Cir. 1993). A settlement agreement is a type of
contract and therefore issues involving the formation,
construction and enforceability are governed by state
contract law. United States v. McCall, 235 F.3d
1211, 1215 (10th Cir. 2000).
law favors settlement agreements. Terracon Consultants,
Inc. v. Drash, No. 2:12-CV-02345-EFM, 2013 WL 6080429,
at *6 (D. Kan. Nov. 19, 2013). Under Kansas law, a settlement
agreement is enforceable if there has been a meeting of the
minds on all essential terms and the parties intend to be
bound. Id. To constitute a meeting of the minds, the
parties must mutually consent and the evidence must show that
the parties met upon the same matter and agreed upon the same
terms. Watson v. Marinovich, No. 98-2380-KHV, 1999
WL 450950, at *2 (D. Kan. June 22, 1999). When determining
whether there was an intent to be bound, the court looks to
whether the parties' outward expression of assent is
sufficient to form a contract. Sw. & Assocs. v.
Steven Enters., LLC, 32 Kan.App.2d 778, 781 (Kan.Ct.App.
agreements should be enforced unless there is a finding of
fraud or bad faith. Watson, 1999 WL 450950, at *2.
After a party has entered into a settlement agreement, she
cannot avoid the terms because she has changed her mind.
TSYS Merch. Sols., LLC v. Pipeline Prods., No.
16-4024-SAC, 2016 WL 4702419, at *3 (D. Kan. Sep. 8, 2016).
Additionally, “the fact that the parties contemplate
the subsequent execution of a formal instrument as evidence
of their agreement does not necessarily imply they have not
already bound themselves to a definite and enforceable
contract.” Terracon Consultants, Inc., 2013 WL
6080429, at *6.
court finds that the parties' Memorandum of Understanding
is a binding contract and is enforceable. In this case, the
parties' signed agreement is evidence of mutual consent
and shows that the parties had a meeting of the minds
regarding the essential terms.
agreement includes both parties and the essential terms. The
essential terms agreed upon include: payment in exchange for
dismissal of the complaint, no re-employment with Via
Christi, payment of mediator fees, the governing law, and
other non-monetary terms. Plaintiff's failure to execute
the formalized settlement agreement does not relieve her of
her obligations that were set forth in the Memorandum of
Understanding. See Terracon Consultants, Inc., 2013
WL 6080429, at *6. Plaintiff cannot simply avoid the terms
because she changed her mind. With no evidence of fraud or
bad faith, the settlement agreement is binding and must be
plaintiff failed to respond to the motion. Unless the court
orders otherwise, replies to a dispositive motion must be
filed and served within 21 days. D. Kan. Rule 6.1(d). Without
a justifiable excuse, a party or attorney who does not
respond to a motion within the time specified in D. Kan. Rule
6.1(d) waives the right to later file such brief or
memorandum. D. Kan. Rule 7.4(b). Under the local rules, when
a party fails to respond, the motion is ordinarily viewed as
an uncontested motion and is granted. Limon v. City of
Liberal, No. 02-4019-DWB, 2003 WL 21659655, at *2 (D.
Kan. May 19, 2003).
party's failure to file a response is not, by itself, a
sufficient basis on which to enter judgment against the
party. Reed v. Nellcor Puritan Bennett, 312 F.3d
1190, 1195 (10th Cir. 2002). The court must make the
additional finding that the judgment is appropriate.
Id. The district court may not grant the motion
without examining the moving party's submission to
determine if there is a legally sufficient basis ...