After the parties settled the lawsuit, the district court dismissed the case without prejudice, subject to the right of any party to re-open the action within sixty days, upon good cause shown, or to submit a stipulated form of final order or judgment (the “60-Day Order”). Sixty-five days after the district court entered the 60-Day Order, the parties filed a joint motion to extend the 60 day deadline and enter a proposed consent judgment and permanent injunction pursuant the parties’ settlement agreement.
In the joint motion, the parties told the district court that a “disagreement arose concerning the terms of the settlement that required the settlement hearing to be transcribed.” The district court noted that “whatever disagreement arose between the parties, it arose and was resolved prior to the expiration of the 60-day period. Yet, the parties did not move to extend the deadline within that period.”
The district court explained that “[p]ursuant to the 60-Day Order, in no uncertain terms, the Court dismissed and closed this lawsuit. More than 60 days elapsed before the parties moved to extend the deadline for reopening the case or entering final judgment. Notably, the Court’s 60-Day Order did not incorporate the parties’ settlement agreement nor did the Court retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement agreement.”
The district court also noted that “a] district court cannot retain jurisdiction by issuing a postdismissal order to that effect.” Anago Franchising, Inc., 677 F.3d at 1279. Therefore, the Court finds that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction to act on the current motions. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Inst. Co., 511 U.S. 375, 382 (1994) (‘[E]nforcement of the settlement agreement is for state courts, unless there is some independent basis for federal jurisdiction.’).”
The district court then confirmed that “a court does not have subject matter jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement unless the court expressly retained jurisdiction or adopted the settlement agreement in a court order prior to dismissal. The Court retained jurisdiction for a limited 60 day period, for limited circumstances, including the entry of final judgment. However, as it presently stands, this case was dismissed, the 60 day deadline has passed, the parties did not move for final judgment during that time period, and the Court has not retained jurisdiction to enforce the parties’ settlement agreement.”
As a result of the failure to extend the deadline, the district court concluded that it “did not retain jurisdiction over the settlement agreement prior to dismissal or during the 60 day period, the Court lacks an independent basis for subject matter jurisdiction to consider the present motions. However, ‘the parties are not without a remedy–they may seek to enforce the settlement agreement in state court.’ Anago Franchising, Inc., 677 F.3d at 1281.”
Skyline USA, Inc. v. M.A.S. GA LLC, Case No. 6:14-cv-210-Orl-22GJK (M.D. Fla. June 13, 2016)
The authors of www.PatentLawyerBlog.com are patent trial lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. For more information about this case, contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or SGibson@jmbm.com.