When parties reach a settlement regarding pending litigation, they often do not consider fully the possibility that a court may be called upon in the future to enforce the obligations created in the settlement agreement. Often times, parties assume that a court will be able to resolve such a dispute as long as the parties state in the settlement agreement what will happen in the event of a breach. However, as discussed in the article written by associate Ken Kronstadt, “Assessing Statutory Enforcement of Settlement Agreements,” published by Los Angeles Lawyer, the court loses jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement as soon as a case is dismissed unless the parties follow the statutory procedures of Section 664.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure and properly request that the court retain jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement.
In light of the unwillingness of California courts to remedy post-dismissal breaches of settlement agreements unless the parties have followed the proper procedures, litigants and their counsel should be aware of – and follow – the procedures set forth in Section 664.6. Otherwise, they may find themselves saddled with the added time and expense of an entire second litigation to remedy a breach of the settlement agreement that resolved the first litigation.
To read the full article, click below.