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Westbrook v. Hahn

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

February 15, 2019

CURTIS L. WESTBROOK, Plaintiff,
v.
DANIEL HAHN, et al. Defendants.

          ENTRY ENFORCING SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AND ENTERING FINAL JUDGMENT

          HON. WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, SENIOR JUDGE

         In this civil action Plaintiff Curtis L. Westbrook alleges that his civil rights were violated as a result of his arrest and subsequent loss of liberty on February 10, 2014. Dkt. 183. Claims against former Judge Diane Bennington were dismissed based on judicial immunity on January 25, 2018. The defendants remaining in this action-City of Muncie, the Muncie Police Department, Daniel Hahn, Matthew Hollans and Muncie City Court of Muncie, Indiana-seek dismissal of the claims alleged against them through the enforcement of a settlement agreement. Defendants request that the Court issue an order dismissing this action pursuant to settlement. For the reasons explained below, the defendants' motion to dismiss, dkt 215, is granted and final judgment shall now enter.

         I. Background

         On July 30, 2018 the parties appeared for a settlement conference before the magistrate judge. The conference did not result in a settlement.

         On August 8, 2018, defendants' counsel and plaintiff's counsel had a telephone conference. The defendants' counsel, with authority from defendants' insurer, made an offer of $12, 500 in exchange for the release of all remaining defendants. Plaintiff's counsel accepted the offer. Plaintiff Mr. Westbook testifies in an affidavit that he “agreed to the monetary settlement and authorized my counsel, Mark E. Miller, to accept a settlement of $12, 500, subject to my review and acceptance of the binding terms and conditions of a written settlement agreement.” Dkt. 223-1 at ¶4.

         Thereafter, defendants' counsel agreed that plaintiff's counsel could make an ex parte call to the Court to notify the Court that the parties settled the case. This phone call was made. See DE 198 (“The Court has been advised by counsel that a settlement has been reached in this action”).

         Multiple emails were exchanged between counsel on August 9 and 10, 2018, regarding the language of a stipulation of dismissal and release agreement, and when plaintiff could expect a settlement check. The parties' counsel were able to agree on the language on both the stipulation of dismissal and release agreement. The settlement agreement negotiated by counsel was attached to the plaintiff's response brief at docket number 223-1.

         Mr. Westbook testified that “[a]fter reviewing the proposed written settlement agreement and considering those terms in light of the settlement amount, I rejected the proposed binding terms and conditions and refused to sign the document, as the document contained material terms that I had not already agreed upon.” Dkt. 223-1 at ¶ 6. Mr. Westbrook gave two related reasons for his refusal to sign the release document. He testified:

Upon review of the proposed binding terms and conditions, I first understood that the only compensation that I would receive from the City Defendants was compensation for each of the 10 days I was forcibly denied my liberty and incarcerated in the Delaware County Jail, but not the injuries I received while incarcerated or any resulting damages from humiliation and embarrassment of being incarcerated, which injuries and damages would not have occurred but for the wrongful acts of the Defendants.

Affidavit at ¶ 7

Under the proposed settlement agreement, the Defendants are accepting no liability or responsibility for any injury I sustained while incarcerated at the Delaware County Jail past and/or future. Accepting the proposed binding terms and conditions of the settlement agreement would not protect me from the possible dismissal of my claims against the Delaware County Sheriff's Department.

Affidavit at ¶ 8.

         On August 21, 2018, plaintiff's counsel notified the Court and defendants that Mr. Westbrook did not wish to proceed with settlement.

         II. ...


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