United States District Court, D. Nevada
VALERIE P. COOKE, JUDGE
October 5, 2016, the District Court referred this case for a
settlement conference (ECF No. 223). However, prior to a
settlement conference being set, the parties filed a
stipulation of dismissal with prejudice after apparently
negotiating a private settlement (ECF No. 225). On October
18, 2016, an order was entered dismissing this case with
prejudice (ECF No. 226).
before this court, plaintiff has filed several motions
related this settlement. Each motion will be addressed in
Plaintiffs motion to enforce settlement (ECF No.
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction" and possess
only the power authorized by the Constitution and United
States statutes. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of
America, 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). This power cannot be
expanded by judicial order. Id., citing American Fire
& Causualty Co. v. Finn, 341 U.S. 6 (1951). It is
well settled that there is a presumption that a cause of
action lies outside the federal court's limited
jurisdiction, and that the party asserting jurisdiction has
the burden of establishing it. Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at
377. Federal courts must have either an independent
(constitutional or statutory) basis for jurisdiction over a
cause of action or jurisdiction pursuant to the court's
inherent powers or ancillary jurisdiction. Id. at
Kokkonen, the Supreme Court held that federal courts
do not have inherent or ancillary jurisdiction to enforce a
settlement agreement merely because the subject of the
settlement was a federal lawsuit. Id. at 381. The
Court stated that ancillary jurisdiction is general
permissible under two circumstances: "(1) to permit
disposition by a single court of claims that are, in varying
respects and degrees, factually interdependent; and (2) to
enable a court to function successfully, that is, to manage
its proceedings, vindicate its authority, and effectuate its
decress." Id. at 379-80 (internal citations
omitted). As to the first circumstance, the Court found that
it would not be particularly efficient for a federal court to
exercise jurisdiction over what is essentially a breach of
contract claim because the facts underlying the breach of a
settlement agreement "have nothing to do with" the
facts of the underlying case. Id. at 380.
the second circumstance, the Court held that a federal court
has ancillary jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement
"if the parties' obligation to comply with the terms
of the settlement agreement had been made part of the order
of dismissal - either by separate provision (such as a
provision "retaining jurisdiction" over the
settlement agreement) or by incorporating the terms of the
settlement agreement into the order." Id. at
381. Jurisdiction exists in such a case because a breach of
the settlement agreement violates a court order. Mallard
Automotive Group Ltd v. United States, 343 F.Supp.2d
949, 955 (D. Nev. 2004) citing Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at
375. If the federal court has no independent jurisdiction
over the settlement agreement, and absent making the
settlement agreement part of the dismissal order, enforcement
of the agreement is for the state courts. Mallard,
343 F.Supp.2d at 955.
awareness and approval of the terms of the settlement
agreement" by the judge are not enough to make the
settlement agreement part of the dismissal order.
Kokkonen, 511 U.S. at 381. Nor is language in the
order of dismissal stating that the dismissal is "based
on the settlement" enough for the federal court to
retain jurisdiction. O'Connor v. Colvin, 70 F.3d
530, 532 (9th Cir. 1995). "Indeed, even a
district court's expressed intention to retain
jurisdiction is insufficient to confer jurisdiction if that
intention is not expressed in the order of dismissal."
Id. citing Hagestad v. Trafeseer, 49 F.3d 1430, 1433
(9, h Cir. 1995) (finding that although the judge
stated on the record that he would act as "czar"
over the settlement, because the order of dismissal merely
stated "Counsel having informed the court that this
action has been settled, this action is dismissed with
prejudice, " the court did not retain jurisdiction over
enforcement of the settlement agreement). Therefore,
plaintiffs motion to enforce settlement (ECF No. 228) is
Plaintiffs motions to seal exhibit (ECF Nos.
227 & 229)
motions to seal exhibit to motion to enforce settlement
agreement (ECF Nos. 227 & 229) are GRANTED.
Plaintiffs motion for relief from order dismissing case
(ECF No. 234) and defendants* motion to strike motion ECF No.
234 (ECF No. 237)
motion for relief from order dismissing case (ECF Nos. 234)
is DENIED for the reasons stated in Section One above.
Defendants' motion to strike motion ECF No. 234 (ECF No.
237) is DENIED as moot.
Plaintiffs motion for Clerk to cure error re filing fee
(ECF No. 232) and motion to grant unopposed motion (ECF No.
motions (ECF No. 232 & 235) are GRANTED. The Clerk shall
reapply the $350.00 paid on November 21, 2016 in case number