Litigant unsuccessfully challenges settlement placed on record by attorneys in court
Donald and Christine Oliver sued Ameriquest Mortgage and others, arguing that they had illegally foreclosed on the Olivers' property. George Hamas was included in the suit after he purchased the property in foreclosure. A settlement was placed on the record during a pre-trial and Hamas' attorney confirmed the settlement on Hamas' behalf. He later argued that he should not be bound by the settlement for various reasons. The Court rejected his claims. His arguments included a mistake about the material terms of the settlement; that he had changed his mind in the 30 minute interim before it was placed on the record; that the settlement was "unfair" and that he had agreed to the consent judgment initially only because he had been threatened by the Olivers and felt under duress to resolve the claim. The Court noted that by all accounts, Hamas' attorney was authorized to agree with the settlement, that it was irrelevant that he may have changed his mind afterward, that the court does not address the adequacy or "fairness" of a settlement involving competent parties, and that any alleged duress Hamas felt was not the result of behavior intended to force him to settle his claim.
Settlements reduced to writing or announced and acknowledged in open court are virtually NEVER overturned.