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Vizzoni v. Kushner

SOM-C-12087-02 (N.J. Super. Ch. Div. 2005) (Unpublished)

SETTLEMENTS; ENFORCEABLITY—A court will enforce a settlement placed on the record even if that agreement included an obligation to negotiate its complete terms and memorialize them in an agreement.

Two parties reached a settlement agreement that was placed on the record. However, they were unable to agree on a written memorialization. Both sued to have the agreement enforced. The Chancery Division found that both parties were responsible, to varying degrees, for the delays in reaching a written settlement agreement. One had sent a proposed settlement agreement to the other three weeks after the agreement had been reached. The other took five weeks to respond. Furthermore, neither drafted an agreement matching the settlement agreement placed on the record. For example, one party included many terms which were not contemplated by both parties and the other simply changed terms from the original agreement. Consequently, the Court held that neither party had breached the agreement; instead, both appeared to be arguing as to what terms were agreed-upon. Where the essential terms of an agreement are agreed-upon and the parties agree to flesh out the mechanics of the agreement in a later writing, a court should enforce the agreement despite the fact that a writing has not been produced because a party later reneges. Therefore, the Court required the parties to enter into an agreement in accordance with the terms previously placed on the record within thirty days of the ruling. The Court added that the parties could add terms to the agreement as long as both sides agreed.

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