Options For Enforcement of Settlement Agreements
Your options are when an agreement isn’t working
What happens when you’ve reached a settlement agreement in your case using alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, yet one of the parties involved isn’t holding up their end of the bargain? You must be thinking “there has to be something that can be done,” and you’d be right. Below are a few options to consider when someone isn’t honoring an agreed upon settlement.
Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement
If a case has already been filed in Nevada district court, one of the options you can consider is having the court order the other party to honor the agreement. To accomplish this, you would have to file a Motion to Enforce. In Nevada, a settlement agreement is a contract governed by general principles of contract law, and a district court has the authority to enforce a settlement agreement in an existing case where it already has jurisdiction. In order to enforce a settlement agreement, the moving party must show either: (1) a written, signed agreement; or (2) terms entered into the court minutes reduced to an order. If granted, the other party to the settlement must comply with the terms of the agreement. If they do not comply, you could pursue further remedies, such as moving to hold the other party in contempt for not following the court’s order.
Sue for Breach of Settlement Agreement
Another option is to move to add a claim for Breach of Contract (if a suit has already been filed) or to file a Complaint for Breach of Contract. In some cases, suing for a Breach of Contract is an easier case to prove than the facts of the underlying dispute, which could provide an easier route to a favorable judgment.
You might also consider an additional claim for Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. This claim would apply in cases where a party to the settlement made the agreement knowing they would not be able to fulfill their part of the agreement. This claim is meant to ensure that all parties enter into an agreement in good faith to one another and prohibits unfair acts by one party that would work to the disadvantage of the other. This claim might be available even if the court determines there is no breach of the settlement agreement itself, giving additional options for relief.
Proceed with Underlying Case
Another option to weigh is considering moving to set aside the initial agreement and proceed with litigation. This would essentially ignore the settlement agreement and proceed with the original lawsuit. However, litigation options generally come at a greater financial cost than settlement, which is something to consider.
In conclusion, all is not lost if the opposing party doesn’t meet their obligations. You have plenty of options to enforce the agreement, or to move on and continue litigation.
If you need assistance in your settlement agreement, or just have questions, please feel free to contact us at Morris Law Center for your complimentary consult.
And as always, “If you think you might need an attorney, you probably do.”