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Davidson v. Caravan Facilities Management LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

February 2, 2019

DERRICK S. DAVIDSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CARAVAN FACILITIES MANAGEMENT, LLC, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          William C. Lee, Judge U.S. District Judge

         This matter is before the Court for rulings on several pending motions, including the following:

1. Amended Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Caravan on March 5, 2018 (ECF 42) and brief in support (ECF 43), to which Plaintiff Davidson filed a response in opposition on November 19, 2018 (ECF 67)[1] and Caravan filed a reply on December 19, 2018 (ECF 68);
2. Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement filed by Caravan on May 14, 2018 (ECF 53), to which Davidson filed a response on May 22 (ECF 56) and Caravan filed a reply on May 25 (ECF 58);
3. Motion Requesting Order Granting Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement or, in the Alternative, Summary Judgment filed by Caravan on August 21, 2018 (ECF 64), to which Davidson filed a response on September 25, 2018 (ECF 65); and
4. Motion for Attorney Fees (Limited) Incurred in Preparing Defendant's Amended Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Caravan on December 19, 2018 (ECF 69), to which Davidson did not file a response.

         For the reasons explained below, the Amended Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF 42) is DENIED AS MOOT; the Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement (ECF 53) is GRANTED; the Motion Requesting Order (ECF 64) is DENIED AS MOOT; and the Motion for Attorneys Fees (ECF 69) is DENIED. This case is DISMISSED PURSUANT TO THE PARTIES SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AT ECF 53-2, pp. 3-7.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Derrick Davidson filed this lawsuit against his employer, Caravan Facilities Management, on March 9, 2017, alleging that Caravan discriminated against him on the basis of race and gender. Complaint (ECF 1). Davidson was represented by counsel at the time. Id. The parties stipulated to the dismissal of Davidson's gender discrimination claims (see Joint Motion to Dismiss, ECF 20) and Davidson filed a First Amended Complaint on July 17, 2017, reasserting his race claims (and race related retaliation claims) (ECF 25). Caravan filed a motion for summary judgment on March 5, 2018, which is still pending (ECF 42). In lieu of a response brief opposing that motion, Davidson filed a Notice of Resolution on April 13, 2018, in which he stated that “resolution in this case has been achieved among the parties[]” and that “[t]he parties will be filing a stipulation of dismissal within 30-days[.]” Notice of Resolution (DE 47). However, no such stipulation was filed. Instead, Davidson's attorneys filed a motion to withdraw (ECF 48). On May 14, 2018, Caravan filed a motion to enforce the settlement agreement it contends the parties negotiated and finalized. Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement (ECF 53). In that motion, Caravan insists that the parties reached an agreement to resolve this case in its entirety and sets out the details regarding how and when the settlement was reached by the attorneys for each side. Id., generally. Davidson filed a response opposing this motion, stating in pertinent part as follows:

1. While Plaintiff did allow his attorney to enter into the Settlement Agreement, Plaintiff did not know the outcome of the settlement process until he reviewed the written Settlement Agreement, and Plaintiff does not agree with the written Settlement Agreement.
2. Plaintiff requests additional time within which to hire a different lawyer to go forward with the case and to oppose the Settlement Agreement.
3. Plaintiff believes that he should not have to give up EEOC claims that came into existence after the disputes that are set forth in his Complaint, and he wishes to consult with an attorney (a different attorney) so that he can pursue any and all EEOC claims that were filed with the EEOC subsequent to the events set forth in his Complaint.

         Plaintiff's Response (ECF 56), p. 1. In another pleading, which he filed pro se, Davidson insisted that he “was not satisfied with the Settlement Agreement on the basis that I would be signing an agreement that I feel will not help myself or my family[.] After I read the terms I informed [attorney Myers] that I did not agree to dismissing the EEOC charges[.]” Motion to Continue (ECF 59), p. 1. Caravan argues that the agreement reached in this case is enforceable, notwithstanding Davidson's objections, and that the Court should enforce the agreement and dismiss this case. Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement, pp. 2-6.

         In an order entered on July 2, 2018, the Court took Caravan's motion to enforce the settlement agreement under advisement pending Davidson's attempts to obtain another attorney. Court Order, (ECF 61). On July 19, the Court held an in-person hearing to address Davidson's attorneys' motion to withdraw and Caravan's motion to enforce settlement. At the conclusion of that hearing the Court granted the motion to withdraw, granted Davidson “30 days within which to secure new counsel[]” and directed that his new lawyer “shall . . . promptly file briefs in response” to both the motion to enforce settlement and the amended motion for summary judgment. Docket Entry (ECF 63). That 30-day period came and went and no lawyer entered an appearance on behalf of Davidson. Consequently, on August 21, Caravan filed its Motion Requesting Order Granting Motion to Enforce Settlement or, in the Alternative, Summary Judgment (ECF 64). Davidson's response to that motion came in the form of a letter to the Court in which he conceded that he was been unable to obtain counsel despite his months-long effort to do so. He asked the Court to allow him to proceed pro se and “represent myself in this case[.] I have exhausted all options and I believe only I can get the facts and accurate events that has lead [sic] to my pursuit of this lawsuit.” Letter/Motion for Extension of Time (ECF 65). The Court construed the letter as a motion for extension of time and granted Davidson an extension ...


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