United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY LABORERS PENSION FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
WELLINGTON CONCRETE, LLC, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CHARLES A. SHAW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
closed matter is before the Court on plaintiffs' motion
to enforce settlement against defendant Wellington Concrete,
LLC (“Wellington”). Defendant Wellington did not
respond to the motion, and the time to do so has expired. For
the following reasons, the Court will grant plaintiffs'
motion to enforce settlement.
20, 2015, plaintiffs brought a three-count complaint against
Wellington under Sections 502 and 515 of the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act (hereinafter referred to as
“ERISA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132 and 1145.
Plaintiffs allege in their Complaint that Wellington agreed
to be bound by the terms and conditions of a collective
bargaining agreement (“CBA”) between the Site
Improvement Association and the Eastern Missouri
Laborers' District Council and Local Union No. 660.
Plaintiffs further allege that Wellington employed laborers
under the terms of the CBA, but Wellington failed and has
refused to submit remittance reports and to pay and
contribute to the various funds, as required by the CBA. In
their Complaint, plaintiffs seek delinquent contributions,
liquidated damages, interest, attorneys' fees and costs.
answered plaintiffs' Complaint, and on July 22, 2015, the
parties filed a joint motion to stay the case in order to
allow for an audit of Wellington's books and records. The
Court granted the motion, and the case was stayed until
September 5, 2015. On May 23, 2016, the parties filed a
Stipulation for Dismissal with Prejudice. In their
stipulation, the parties notified the Court that they had
reached a settlement, and they stated that the parties agreed
that the Court “shall retain jurisdiction over the
Release and Settlement Agreement between the parties for
purposes of enforcement of its terms.” Doc. 22. On May
24, 2016, the case was dismissed with prejudice.
motion presently before the Court, plaintiffs state that
under the terms of the Release and Settlement Agreement
(“Settlement Agreement”) between the parties,
defendant Wellington agreed to pay the plaintiff funds a
total of $17, 550.00 in eighteen monthly payments of $975.00,
beginning in May 2016. Plaintiffs further state in their
motion that defendant Wellington made the first installment
under the terms of the Settlement Agreement but has not made
any subsequent payments.
of the signed Settlement Agreement was attached to the motion
to enforce settlement.
Settlement Agreement provides, in part:
In the event of the monthly installment are not received . .
. on or by the 15th of the month in accordance with the terms
of this Agreement, . . . Defendant shall be in default and
the entire remaining balance owed by Defendant to the Funds
as stated herein shall become due immediately to the Funds
and the Funds shall have all rights of execution to collect
the outstanding balance if the remaining balance is not paid
within 30 days of the Plaintiffs' written demand.
Doc. 24, Ex. 1 at 2.
represent that they sent Wellington a written demand letter
for payment of the delinquent installments, but defendant has
not made any further payments. Plaintiffs assert that under
the terms of the Settlement Agreement between the parties,
defendant Wellington is in default, and the entire remaining
balance is due to plaintiffs. For relief, plaintiffs request
that the Court enter judgment in favor of plaintiffs and
against defendant Wellington in the amount of $16, 575.00,
plus attorneys' fees in the amount of $750.00.
district court has inherent power to enforce a settlement
agreement entered into by parties in a case. Barry v.
Barry, 172 F.3d 1011, 1013 (8th Cir. 1999). “Once
parties have settled a dispute and have agreed to settlement
terms, the parties cannot rescind it.” Caleshu v.
Merrill Lynch, 737 F.Supp. 1070, 1086 (E.D. Mo. 1990)
(citing Kelly v. Greer, 365 F.2d 669, 673 (3rd Cir.
1966)). A settlement agreement is a contract between the
parties and, therefore, contract law governs its enforcement.
Visiting Nurse Assoc., St. Louis v. VNA Healthcare,
Inc., 347 F.3d 1052, 1053 (8th Cir. 2003).
Settlement Agreement stipulates that Missouri law governs the
terms of the agreement. Doc. 24, Ex. 1 at 2. In Missouri,
interpreting a settlement agreement is a question of law, and
it is “interpreted according to the same principles
that govern the interpretation of any other type of
contract.” Parks v. MBNA Am. Bank, 204 S.W.3d
305, 311 (Mo.Ct.App. 2006). The principal question under
Missouri law is to determine whether there was a mutual
acceptance of the terms of the agreement. Visiting Nurse
Assoc., 347 F.3d at 1054. To form a valid contract in
Missouri, the Court must find the basic contract elements of
offer, acceptance, and consideration. Beck v. Shrum,
18 S.W.3d 8, 10 (Mo.Ct.App. 2000). Additionally, “in
Missouri, the party attacking a release or settlement
‘bears the burden of showing that the contract he has
made is tainted with invalidity, either by fraud practiced
upon him or ...