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Shernoff v. Hewlett-Packard Co.

January 9, 2008

MIA SHERNOFF
v.
HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joel A. Pisano United States District Judge

CHAMBERS OF JOEL A. PISANO JUDGE

CLARKSON S. FISHER FEDERAL BUILDING 402 EAST STATE STREET ROOM 341 TRENTON, NJ 086080 (609) 989-0502

LETTER OPINION

ORIGINAL TO BE FILED WITH THE CLERK OF THE COURT

Dear Parties,

Presently before the Court is pro se Plaintiff, Mia Shernoff's ("Plaintiff" or "Mrs. Shernoff") motion for relief from the December 5, 2006 Order by this Court, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). The Defendant, Hewlett-Packard ("Defendant" or "HP") opposes the motion.

I. Background

On September 10, 2004, Plaintiff filed her complaint against the Defendant regarding the exercise of an option to purchase HP stock that the company granted to Plaintiff in connection with her employment at HP. Plaintiff claimed that HP provided her with incorrect information regarding the exercise of her option and once she discovered the error, she demanded that HP allow her to retroactively exercise the option on a date that the stock was at its highest price. The Defendant refused to do so and Plaintiff filed suit. Plaintiff then filed an amended complaint on April 12, 2005 alleging professional liability, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of implied covenant of good faith.

Magistrate Judge Madeline Arleo ("Judge Arleo") conducted a settlement conference with the parties on April 21, 2005. After the conference, the Defendant's counsel ("Day Pitney") drafted a Settlement Agreement and Stipulation of Dismissal, which embodied the agreed upon terms from the conference, and forwarded the draft to Plaintiff. Plaintiff proposed a few revisions, some of which the Defendant incorporated and some which it did not and, again, forwarded the revised draft to Plaintiff. Plaintiff never responded. In the meantime, Plaintiff exercised the very stock option she expressly agreed to surrender at the settlement conference. Upon learning this, the Defendant immediately moved to enforce the non-economic terms of the settlement agreement. Plaintiff cross-moved to rescind the settlement and restore the case to the active docket.

On July 27, 2005, Judge Arleo held a hearing with respect to the cross-motions and issued a Report and Recommendation on July 17, 2006 ("R & R"), in which she concluded that the parties had entered into a binding settlement agreement on April 21, 2005. Thus, Judge Arleo recommended that the motion to rescind the settlement agreement be denied and the motion to enforce the non-economic terms of the agreement be granted. Plaintiff filed an objection to the R & R on July 31, 2006, which the Defendant opposed. The Court entered an Opinion and Order, on December 4 and 5, 2006, respectively, adopting the R & R, enforcing the settlement agreement, and dismissing the case without prejudice. Plaintiff filed an appeal to the Third Circuit on December 22, 2006, which is currently pending.

Plaintiff now brings this action before the Court for relief from the Court's December 5, 2006 Order, pursuant to Rule 60(b), on the grounds that there is new evidence. Plaintiff filed her motion on December 5, 2007. Having reviewed the matter, the Court declines to provide relief from its December 5, 2006 Order.

II. Standard of Review

Rule 60(b) provides, in pertinent part:

On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party or a party's legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding for the following reasons...(2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59 (b)...The motion shall be made within a reasonable time, and for reasons (1), ...


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