The Dennis family has made a request of the federal court in preparation for the filing of a motion to compel settlement in Doe v. Mount Vernon Board of Education, et al., in which John Freshwater is the sole remaining defendant. The request is to be permitted to file a motion under seal to compel settlement, the filing to be under seal because of the Court’s gag order concerning settlement negotiations.
Recall that the trial in that suit was slated to begin July 26, 2010, but Federal District Judge Gregory Frost nixed it under the impression that a settlement had been reached. In his order granting sanctions against Freshwater and Hamilton on August 2, 2010, Frost wrote
In their memorandum in opposition, Plaintiffs request judgement to be entered against Freshwater or for evidentiary inferences to be permitted against Freshwater at trial. That request, however, has been rendered moot by the settlement of this matter. (italics added)
Clearly Judge Frost thought a settlement had been reached, and since he has to approve any settlement he should know.
However, we’ve been waiting since then for an announcement of that settlement, and it hasn’t occurred. Now comes the notice of intention to file a motion to compel settlement. IANAL, but my impression is that a motion to compel settlement is filed when one party to an agreed settlement subsequently fails to adhere to the agreement. (See here for that language.) I infer, therefore, that whatever settlement that was agreed in July 2010 hasn’t been stuck to by Freshwater and/or Hamilton, and hence this request and the prospective motion to compel. Since Judge Frost’s gag order is still in effect concerning settlement discussions, all we have is the bare request to file under seal (pdf). The request to file the motion under seal was granted (pdf) by Judge Frost so the motion to compel settlement may be imminent.