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Radiance Capital Receivables Eighteen, LLC v. Delta Springs Developments, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

December 5, 2017

RADIANCE CAPITAL RECEIVABLES EIGHTEEN, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
SNEZANA STROTHMANN, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING MOTIONS CONCERNING PURPORTED SETTLEMENT

          GREG KAYS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE

         This lawsuit arises from Defendant's Snezana Strothmann's (“Defendant”) alleged guarantee of a loan. The borrower defaulted, and now Plaintiff Radiance Capital Receivables Eighteen, LLC, (“Radiance”) has sued to enforce Defendant's alleged guarantee.

         Now before the Court are Defendant's Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement (Doc. 55) and Motion to Pay Settlement Proceeds Into Court (Doc. 59). Defendant contends the parties reached a settlement agreement on June 30, 2017, which Plaintiff refuses to honor. Plaintiff responds that although the parties had extensive preliminary discussions, no settlement was ever reached.

         The motions are DENIED because the Court finds that: (1) reducing the settlement agreement to writing was a condition precedent to the contract's formation, a condition which has not been met here, and (2) Defendant has not carried her burden of showing by clear, convincing, and satisfactory evidence that a settlement agreement exists.

         Background

         The parties agree on the essential facts, but dispute a few of the details. Where the parties' versions differ, the Court has adopted the account provided by Marc Wilson (“Wilson”), Plaintiff's counsel, because his account was made under oath and is credible.

         On June 23, 2017, Wilson had a forty-minute phone call with Defense counsel Dan Simon (“Simon”). The call mostly concerned discovery matters, but at some point Simon suggested the case could be settled if the parties were in the same settlement range. Wilson told Simon that any settlement must be subject to written agreement and review and approval by Radiance. Wilson stated this was because he had not discussed with Radiance what other material terms it would require. Simon agreed, indicating his client would expect the same. Simon subsequently provided Wilson a number that Wilson took back to Radiance for consideration.

         On June 26, Radiance requested additional information about Defendant's proposed method and timing of payments.

         On June 29 at 11:25 a.m., Kelly Ricke, an attorney working with Simon, sent Wilson the first in a string of emails.

Subject: Strothmann Discovery
Hi Marc,
Would you mind giving us until Monday on the answers to your second rogs and requests? Thanks,
JKelly

         Email chain (Doc. 65-2). That afternoon, Wilson emailed back Ms. Ricke and Simon:

Yes, that sounds good. I'd like to know also if I can get the tax returns mentioning Delta Springs. I have to head to a funeral out of state next week, and I likely won't get back in the office until Friday, the deadline for motions.
Regarding the possibility of settlement, we are in the same range we discussed, Dan, but the ultimate amount depends upon the timing of payment (i.e., one payment within a few weeks v. scheduled payments), and they would like legal covered on top of that, which will range from $25-$30, 000 at this point.
Please let me know your thoughts on the timing of payment and I'll run it by Radiance to see if they are willing to provide a number.
Thanks!

Id.

         Wilson and Simon subsequently discussed the method and timing of any settlement payments in a two and one-half minute phone call. During the call, Wilson reiterated that any agreement must be reduced to writing and subject to review and approval by his client ...


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