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Thompson v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

November 5, 2018

WILLEMARA THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
v.
WAL-MART STORES EAST, LP, WAL-MART STORES EAST, INC., and WAL-MART STORES, INC., Defendants.

          MARC I. SIMON, SIMON & SIMON PC On behalf of Plaintiff.

          PATRICK J. MCDONNELL, TAISHA KRISTINA TOLLIVER, MCDONNELL & ASSOCIATES, P.C. On behalf of Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         WHEREAS, pending before the Court is Plaintiff's counsel's “Motion for Disbursement of Funds”; and

         WHEREAS, Plaintiff's counsel represents that on May 15, 2018, Plaintiff agreed to settle her case, but despite numerous attempts to distribute the settlement check pursuant to their fee agreement, his client refuses to sign off on how the funds will be distributed; and

         WHEREAS, Plaintiff's counsel asks the Court to order the distribution of funds as provided for in the parties' agreement; and

         WHEREAS, on March 27, 2018, the magistrate judge entered an Order administratively terminating the action, and directing that within 60 days the parties file all papers necessary to dismiss the action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41 or, if settlement could not be consummated, request that the action be reopened (Docket No. 16); and

         WHEREAS, the magistrate judge's Order further provided that absent receipt from the parties of dismissal papers or a request to reopen the action within the 60-day period, the Court would dismiss the action, without further notice, with prejudice and without costs (id.); and

         WHEREAS, because the parties did not file dismissal papers or request to reopen the action within the 60-day period, on May 30, 2018, this Court entered an Order of Dismissal (Docket No. 17), which ordered the matter dismissed with prejudice, without costs pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(2); and

         WHEREAS, Plaintiff's counsel's motion was filed on August 23, 2018, which was almost three months after the Court dismissed the action with prejudice; and

         WHEREAS, when the action was closed, the Court did not retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement agreement or to hear any other requests relating to the matter, see Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America, 511 U.S. 375, 378 (1994) (finding as a general rule that a federal district court does not retain jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement unless the court, typically as part of its order of dismissal, orders the parties to comply with the terms of the settlement agreement or incorporates terms of a settlement agreement explicitly retaining jurisdiction into one of its orders); Sawka v. Healtheast, Inc., 989 F.2d 138, 141-42 (3d Cir. 1993) (holding that “unless a settlement is part of the record, incorporated into an order of the district court, or the district court has manifested an intent to retain jurisdiction, it has no power beyond the Rules of Civil Procedure to exercise jurisdiction over a petition to enforce a settlement”); Washington Hospital v. White, 889 F.2d 1294, 1298-99 (3d Cir. 1989) (stating “a district court does not have continuing jurisdiction over disputes about its orders merely because it had jurisdiction over the original dispute”); and

         WHEREAS, the Court therefore does not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff's counsel's motion;[1]

         Accordingly, IT IS on this 5th day of November, 2018

         ORDERED that the “First MOTION for Disbursement of Funds” [18] be, ...


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