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Court overturns enforcement of settlement "agreement" after stipulated dismissal

James, Steven and Donald Freybler sued James Bettis and the Legends Ranch in Newaygo County over various neighbor problems including wrongful tree-cutting and terms of use of a road.  Ultimately, the parties reached a "near" agreement with their attorneys exchanging e-mails over disputed additional terms.  Somehow, this "near" agreement, which included payment of cash by the defendants, resulted in the entry of a stipulation to dismiss without clear delineation of the full terms of the agreement.

After the entry of the Order of Dismissal, the Plaintiffs sought relief from the Court, which issued an order that purported to enforce the parties' agreement.  The Defendants appealed and the Court of Appeals overturned the lower court. 

The appellate court held that since the order entered was not actually a money judgment, the post-judgment relief Court Rule relied on by the trial judge did not authorize the court to enforce the purported settlement. Further, the Court held that the terms which were included in the Court's post-judgment enforcement order were never clearly the subject of a "meeting of the minds" by all parties.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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