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Cope v. Gateway Area Development District, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland

March 20, 2017

DAVID COPE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GATEWAY AREA DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT, INC., GAIL WRIGHT, individually and in her official capacity as the Executive Director of Gateway Area Development District, Inc., and DEBORAH ANDERSON, in her official capacity as the Commissioner of the Department for Aging and Independent Living of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, DEFENDANTS.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Henry R. Wilhoit, Jr., United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court upon Defendants Gateway Area Development, Inc. and Gail Wright's Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement and Dismiss All Plaintiffs Claims [Docket No. 58]. The motion has been fully briefed by the parties [Docket Nos. 58-1, 59 and 62] and for the reasons stated herein, the Court finds that the settlement agreement is enforceable and, as such, Plaintiffs claim will be dismissed.

         I.

         The present action arises out of Mr. Cope's termination from employment with Gateway Area Development District, Inc. ("GADD") and subsequent litigation. This lawsuit has traveled a lengthy and tortured path. Ultimately, in a notice filed on March 2, 2016, the parties jointly informed the Court that they had reached a settlement agreement and that they only needed to finalize a release agreement to complete the settlement.

         Weeks of negotiating the language of the agreement followed, including revisions of language in the release and inclusion of an indemnification provision. Copies of the emails between counsel are attached to Defendants' motion. The emails confirm they reached a final agreement on the language of the release.

         On April 15, 2016, after having had 23 days to consider the release language, Plaintiffs counsel emailed undersigned counsel stating:

I actually had a chance to speak with Mr. Cope today and he has agreed to sign the Agreement with a few minor modifications to Paragraphs 3.1, 4.2, and 4, 5. The changes are highlighted below in BOLD CAPS. Please make these changes and forward me a revised Agreement, and I will get his signature.

[Docket No. 58-7, Email Exchange between Tony Bucher, counsel for Plaintiff, and D. Barry Stilz, counsel for GADD and Ms. Wright, dated April 15 and 18, 2016] (emphasis added). Plaintiffs counsel excerpted the language of the agreement his client wished to change and bolded and capitalized the proposed revisions. Id. Defendants' counsel responded on April 18, 2016:

Attached is a revised version of the Release incorporating your last changes. Please let me know when you have the Release signed and will exchange it for the check. Thanks.

Id.

         As indicated in the email, Defendants' counsel attached a revised version of the Release Agreement, which incorporated the Plaintiffs requested revisions and made no other changes.

         Despite those assurances, however, the Plaintiff refused to sign the agreement.

         Defendants seek entry of an Order enforcing the agreement. In his response to Defendants' motion, Plaintiff does not dispute the existence of an agreement, but asks that the Court insert additional terms into it; terms that are not ...


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