Few events in the course of a litigation are as likely to prompt settlement discussion as the resolution of a dispositive motion. The parties’ claims and defenses have been tested, and the strengthened negotiating position of the successful party is clear to both. But, as a recent decision in the Southern District of New York reminds us, there are pitfalls that come with negotiating a settlement in the wake of successful motion to dismiss. If those negotiations turn sour, and one party seeks to enforce a settlement agreement, the parties may be left without a clear judicial home to resolve the dispute.
In Wilson v. Dynatone Publishing Co., No. 16-cv-104 (PAE), 2018 WL 485970 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2018), the plaintiffs moved to enforce a settlement agreement they claimed had been reached after the district court’s dismissal of their claims and the filing of a notice of appeal. Judge Engelmayer denied the motion for lack of jurisdiction.