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Rios v. I.S. Enterprises, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

July 9, 2015

Jorge W. Rios, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
I.S. Enterprises, Inc., Defendant

JORGE W. RIOS, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.

For JOSE NELSON RAMOS AMAYA, JUVENCIO ROELIO CIFUENTES RAMIREZ, Plaintiffs: Mary Craine Lombardo, LEAD ATTORNEY, STEIN SPERLING BENNETT DE JONG DRISCOLL PC, Rockville, MD.

FRANCISCO SOTOJ LOPEZ, Plaintiff, Pro se, Beltsville, MD.

For I.S. ENTERPRISES INC., Defendant: Jeffrey Lynn Rhodes, LEAD ATTORNEY, ALBO & OBLON, LLP, Arlington, VA.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Amit P. Mehta, United States District Judge.

Before the court is Defendant I.S. Enterprises, Inc.'s Motion to Approve and

Page 284

Enforce [Fair Labor Standards Act] Settlement (" Motion" ). ECF No. 18. I.S. Enterprises' Motion consists of two parts. First, it seeks the court's approval of a settlement with two of four plaintiffs, Juvencio Roelio Cifuentes Ramirez and Jose Nelson Ramos Amaya, who have signed a written settlement agreement. Second, the Motion asks the court to enforce the settlement against the remaining two plaintiffs, Jorge W. Rios and Francisco Sotoj Lopez, who have not signed the written settlement agreement, but who I.S. Enterprises contends are bound to the written agreement by their counsel's oral statements and conduct.[1]

For the reasons set forth below, the court grants the Motion as to Plaintiffs Cifuentes and Ramos, but defers ruling on the Motion as to Plaintiffs Rios and Lopez until it holds an evidentiary hearing.

DISCUSSION

Plaintiffs Cifuentes and Ramos. Having considered the complaint, the parties' negotiations, and the terms of the agreement, the court finds that the written settlement agreement resolves bona fide disputes between I.S Enterprises and Plaintiffs Cifuentes and Ramos and presents a reasonable compromise to resolve their disputes. See generally Sarceno v. Choi, 78 F.Supp.3d 446, No. 13-1271, 2015 WL 365927 (D.D.C. Jan. 29, 2015); Carrillo v. Dandan, Inc., 51 F.Supp.3d 124 (D.D.C. 2014). The court thus approves the settlement as to those parties.

Plaintiffs Rios and Lopez. As to Plaintiffs Rios and Lopez, who have not signed the settlement agreement, the court cannot conclude on the limited record before it that they agreed to a binding, enforceable oral settlement to resolve their disputes with I.S. Enterprises. The factual record is simply insufficient.

As the party seeking to enforce an oral agreement, I.S. Enterprises must show by clear and convincing evidence that the parties in fact formed a binding oral settlement agreement. Blackstone v. Brink, 63 F.Supp.3d 68, 76 (D.D.C. 2014). The clear and convincing standard requires evidence sufficient to allow the court to " reach a firm conviction of the truth on the evidence about which [it] is certain." Id. (alteration in original) (citation omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Whether parties have entered into an enforceable oral agreement is a question of state law, see id., and, for present purposes only, the court assumes that the law of the District of Columbia controls.[2] Under District of Columbia law, oral contracts, including settlement agreements, are enforceable if the court finds that the parties (1) agreed to all material terms and (2) intended to be bound by those terms. Duffy v. Duffy, 881 A.2d 630, 634 (D.C. 2005); Steven R. Perles, P.C. v. Kagy, 473 F.3d 1244, 1249, 374 ...


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