United States District Court, D. New Mexico
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION TO ENFORCE SETTLEMENT
MATTER comes before the Court upon Plaintiff's Motion to
Enforce Settlement, filed January 12, 2017 (Doc.
15). Having reviewed the parties' briefs and
applicable law, the Court finds that Plaintiff's motion
is well-taken and, therefore, is granted.
case was a putative class action against Stellar Recovery,
Inc., (“Defendant”) suing for violations of the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §1692 et
seq. (“FDCPA”), in connection with
Plaintiff's receipt of a collection letter from Defendant
in December 2015. Plaintiff contended that Defendant misled
her as to the identity of the creditor to whom the debt was
owed. Defendant admitted to sending the letter, but denies
that any of the language in the letter was misleading or
confusing, or that it violated any provision of the FDCPA.
settled this case in September 2016, see Doc. 11
(Notice of Settlement), and sought additional time in which
to file the dismissal papers, which were due on December 26,
2016. See Doc. 14. Under the written settlement
agreement, Defendant is required to pay Plaintiff a total of
$15, 000.00 over installments from November 5, 2016 to
December 5, 2016.
January 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed this motion to enforce the
agreement. According to Plaintiff, Defendant paid the first
installment of $7, 500.00 in November 2016 but has failed to
pay the other $7, 500.00 installment which was due on the
fifth of December. Multiple efforts by Plaintiff's
counsel to contact Defendant's counsel in December 2016
and January 2017 were unsuccessful and went unreturned.
Defendant has not responded to Plaintiff's motion, and
Plaintiff filed a Notice that briefing was complete on July
26, 2017 (Doc. 16).
court has the power to summarily enforce a settlement
agreement entered into by the litigants while the litigation
is pending before it. A trial court has the power to
summarily enforce a settlement agreement entered into by the
litigants while the litigation is pending before it.”
United States v. Hardage, 982 F.2d 1491, 1496 (10th
Cir.1993). Issues involving the enforceability of a
settlement agreement are resolved by applying state law.
See United States v. McCall, 235 F.3d 1211, 1215
(10th Cir.2000); Shoels v. Klebold, 375 F.3d 1054,
1060 (10th Cir. 2004) (“Issues involving the formation
and construction of a purported settlement agreement are
resolved by applying state contract law.”).
Mexico, “[p]ublic policy encourages settlement
agreements, and the courts have a duty to enforce
them.” Envtl. Control, Inc. v. City of Santa
Fe, 2002-NMCA-003, 131 N.M. 450 (Ct.App. 2002). New
Mexico courts begin the analysis on enforcement of a
settlement agreement “by recognizing and enforcing the
strong policy of favoring settlement agreements.”
Builders Contract Interiors, Inc. v. Hi-Lo Indus.,
Inc., 139 N.M. 508, 2006-NMCA-053.
has attached as an exhibit a copy of the settlement agreement
at issue, which appears to support the facts and
representations made in the motion. Because Defendant has not
responded to the motion, there are no facts in dispute and
therefore no hearing is necessary. Cmp. U.S. v.
Hardage, 982 F.2d at 1496 (where material facts
concerning the existence or terms of an agreement to settle
are in dispute, the parties must be allowed an evidentiary
hearing). Further, Defendant's failure to respond
provides a basis for granting Plaintiffs motion. See
D.N.M.LR-Civ.7.1(b) ("the failure of a party to file and
serve a response in opposition to a motion within the time
prescribed for doing so constitutes consent to grant the
"look favorably when parties resolve their disputes, and
as a result, hold such agreements in high regard and require
a compelling basis to set them aside." Builders
Contract Interiors, 139 N.M. 508, 511, 2006-NMCA-053,
¶ 7 (N.M.App., 2006). In this case, Plaintiffs request
for an Order enforcing the settlement agreement seems
reasonable enough, and Defendant-not having responded at all
to the motion-has not provided the Court with any reason to
set it aside. For these reasons, Plaintiffs motion is
a Judgment shall be entered separately which includes a
provision for post-judgment interest. See 28 U.S.C.
§1961(a) (allowing interest "on any money judgment
in a civil case recovered in a district court").