United States District Court, District of Columbia
B. WALTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, JSC Transmashholding, “Russia's largest
manufacturer of railroad locomotives and cars, ”
Complaint (“Compl.”) ¶ 7, brings this civil
action against the defendant, James F. Miller, for breach of
the parties' Settlement Agreement & Release
(“Settlement Agreement”), see generally
id. The plaintiff seeks to recover the balance the
defendant allegedly owes it under the Settlement Agreement,
specifically, “$599, 282.56 . . . plus pre and
postjudgment interest at 8.0% per annum, ” as well as
“[a]n award of attorney's fees and costs.”
Id. at 6. Currently before the Court is the
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (“Pl.'s
Mot.”). Upon careful consideration of the parties'
submissions,  the Court concludes for the following
reasons that it must grant the plaintiff's motion.
plaintiff executed the Settlement Agreement with the
defendant on November 20, 2014, see Compl., Exhibit
(“Ex.”) 1 (Settlement Agreement) at 10, to
“resolve an action brought by [the plaintiff] against
[the defendant] in [this Court] . . . to recover the
principal of and interest on $600, 000.00 that had been
stolen from [the plaintiff] in a complex conspiracy of which
[the defendant] was a beneficiary, ” id.
¶ 11. In the Settlement Agreement, the defendant agreed
to repay the $600, 000.00 plus interest, see id.,
Ex. 1 (Settlement Agreement) ¶ 2, and the plaintiff
agreed to dismiss its suit against the defendant without
prejudice, see id., Ex. 1 (Settlement Agreement)
¶ 4, which it did on January 20, 2015, id.
the Settlement Agreement, [the defendant] agreed to make each
monthly payment on the first day of the respective calendar
month . . . [and] further agreed that, if he was more than
fifteen  calendar days late . . . and [the plaintiff] gave
written notice of acceleration, the entire then-outstanding
Total Amount would ‘become automatically and
immediately due and payable.'” Id. ¶
12 (quoting id., Ex. 1 (Settlement Agreement) ¶
5). The defendant “made payments in respect of twenty
 months, ending with the payment due August 1, 2016,
” id. ¶ 13, but made no payments for
“the amounts due on September 1, October 1, November 1,
and December 1, 2016[, ] and January 1, 2017, ”
id. ¶ 14. The plaintiff gave the defendant
written notice of acceleration on December 2, 2016, pursuant
to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, see id.
¶ 15; see also id., Ex. 2 (Letter from the
plaintiff's counsel to the defendant (Dec. 2, 2016)
(“Notice of Acceleration”)) at 1, but the
defendant “has made no payment on any amount owed,
” id. ¶ 16. The plaintiff filed both its
Complaint and Motion for Summary Judgment on January 4, 2017,
alleging breach of the Settlement Agreement. See id.
at 1; Pl.'s Mot. at 1.
defendant filed his Answer on January 26, 2017, see
Def.'s Answer at 1, but did not timely file an opposition
to the Motion for Summary Judgment. Therefore, on March 3,
2017, the Court entered a Minute Order directing the
defendant to file an opposition by March 17, 2017.
See Minute Order (Mar. 3, 2017). After the defendant
again failed to file an opposition, the Court entered an
Order on April 21, 2017, directing the defendant to show
cause as to why the plaintiff's motion should not be
granted. See Order at 1 (Apr. 21, 2017). The
defendant filed his Response to the Court's Order on May
10, 2017, “disput[ing] the allegations and merits of
[the] [p]laintiff's complaint, but elect[ing] not to
further pursue any defense.” Def.'s Resp. at 1.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
will grant a motion for summary judgment under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 56(c) “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). When ruling on a Rule 56 motion, the
Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. Holcomb v. Powell, 433 F.3d
889, 895 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (citing Reeves v. Sanderson
Plumbing Prods., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000)). The Court
must therefore draw “all justifiable inferences”
in the non-moving party's favor and accept the non-moving
party's evidence as true. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).
non-movant's silence in response to the movant's
motion for summary judgment does not mean the motion may be
granted as conceded because “[t]he burden is always on
the movant to demonstrate why summary judgment is
warranted.” Winston & Strawn, LLP v.
McLean, 843 F.3d 503, 505 (D.C. Cir. 2016). Therefore,
“[a] court must always engage in the analysis required
by Rule 56 before acting on a motion for summary
judgment.” Id. at 506. “The [C]ourt may,
however, treat any unaddressed factual statement in the
[movant's] motion as undisputed.” Koch v.
White, ___ F.Supp.3d ___, ___, 2017 WL 1655185, at *4
(D.D.C. May 2, 2017), appeal docketed, No. 17-5180
(D.C. Cir. Aug. 7, 2017); see also Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e) (“If a party fails to properly support an
assertion of fact or fails to properly address another
party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the
court may . . . consider the fact undisputed for purposes of
the motion [or] grant summary judgment if the motion and
supporting materials-including the facts considered
undisputed-show that the movant is entitled to it . . .
.”); Winston & Strawn, 843 F.3d at 507
Breach of Settlement Agreement
agreements ‘are in the nature of contracts,
'” America v. Preston, 468 F.Supp.2d 118,
122 (D.D.C. 2006) (quoting Makins v. District of
Columbia, 277 F.3d 544, 546- 47 (D.C. Cir. 2002)), and
are therefore “construed under ‘general
principles of contract law, '” Dyer v.
Bilaal, 983 A.2d 349, 354 (D.C. 2009) (quoting Goozh
v. Capitol Souvenir Co., 462 A.2d 1140, 1142 (D.C.
1983)); see also Goozh, 462 A.2d at 1142
(“Once entered, the agreement between the parties
becomes the law of the case, and its terms may not be
enlarged or diminished by the court, for to do so would be to
create a new stipulation to which the parties have not
agreed.” (internal citations omitted)). When
interpreting a settlement agreement, “[a] court must
honor the intentions of the parties as reflected in the
settled usage of the terms they accepted in the [settlement
agreement].” The Cuneo Law Grp., P.C. v.
Joseph, 669 F.Supp.2d 99, 107 (D.D.C. 2009) (Walton, J.)
(quoting Unfoldment, Inc. v. D.C. Contract Appeals
Bd., 909 A.2d 204, 209 (D.C. 2006)), aff'd,
428 F.App'x 6 (D.C. Cir. 2011), cert. denied,
565 U.S. 1094.
prevail on a claim of breach of contract [in the District of
Columbia], a party must establish (1) a valid contract
between the parties; (2) an obligation or duty arising out of
the contract; (3) a breach of that duty; and (4) damages
caused by [the] breach.” Tsintolas Realty
Co. v. Mendez, 984 A.2d 181, 187 (D.C.
2009). A settlement agreement is valid and
enforceable if, based on the written agreement, “each
party could be reasonably certain how it was to
perform.” Dyer, 983 A.2d at 357 (finding an
e-mail agreement between the parties to be enforceable
because the terms of the agreement were sufficiently
defined); see also EastBanc, Inc. v. Georgetown
Park Assocs. II, LP, 940 A.2d 996, 1003 (D.C. 2008)
(“The enforceability of [an] agreement comes from the
definitive character of the obligation to perform,
not a precise description of the ways in which the obligation
might be fulfilled.” (emphasis in original)). And
“‘[a] contract is breached if a party fails to
perform when performance is due, ' i.e., upon a
party's ‘unjustified failure to perform all or any
part of what is promised in a contract entitling the injured
party to damages.'” Medhin v. Hailu, 26
A.3d 307, 310 (D.C. 2011) (first quoting Eastbanc,
940 A.2d at 1004, then quoting Fowler v. A & A
Co., 262 A.2d 344, 347 (D.C. 1970)).
the Court first finds that the Settlement Agreement between
the parties is valid and enforceable because it is
sufficiently clear as to the parties' obligations.
Regarding the ...