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Price v. Edwards

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

August 21, 2019

JEFFREY T. PRICE, Plaintiff,
v.
DON EDWARDS, ET AL., Defendants.

          District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO WITHDRAW FROM SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

          R. STEVEN WHALEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On February 24, 2017, Plaintiff Jeffrey Price filed a civil complaint in this Court against Richard Snyder (then-Governor of the State of Michigan), Kristie Etue (Director of the Michigan State Police), Don Edwards (Montmorency County Sheriff), and Vicki P. Kundinger (Montmorency County Prosecutor) in their official capacities only, alleging that he was wrongfully arrested and later forced to move from his own home for violations of the 2006 and 2011 amendments to Michigan's Sex Offender Registration Act (“SORA”), M.C.L. § 28.721 et seq.

         The case eventually settled under terms that are reflected in a Memorandum of Understanding. Mr. Price signed and returned the Memorandum to the Court [Doc. #53]. On January 24, 2019, he filed a Motion to Withdraw from the Settlement Agreement [Doc. #59].

         For the reasons discussed below, the motion is DENIED.

         I. FACTS

         On March 14, 2018, the Court, overruling objections to my Report and Recommendation [Doc. #32], granted in part the Defendants' motion to dismiss, dismissing Plaintiff's claim for monetary damages but permitting his claim for declaratory and prospective injunctive relief to go forward. See Opinion and Order [Doc. #42].

         The parties then engaged in settlement discussions, and each side prepared proposed “final judgments” for discussion. On July 17, 2018, Mr. Price and the attorneys for Defendants participated in a telephone conference with the undersigned Magistrate Judge. Agreement on the terms of a settlement was reached, and the Court sent all parties a Memorandum of Understanding that reflected the agreement. A significant part of the settlement was the Defendants' agreement that the 2006 and 2011 amendments to SORA would not apply retroactively to Mr. Price, consistent with the Sixth Circuit's decision in Does #1-5 v. Snyder, 834 F.3d 696 (6th Cir. 2016).

         The parties were instructed to each sign and return a copy of the Memorandum if they agreed with the terms. The Plaintiff signed and returned his copy, which was docketed on July 23, 2018 [Doc. #53].

         The Memorandum of Understanding noted that the parties and/or their attorneys participated in a telephonic conference with the Court on July 17, 2018, “to discuss the terms of a possible settlement in this matter.” The Memorandum stated, at pg. 1, that there remained two areas of disagreement:

“While there was agreement on the majority of terms of a proposed settlement, there was nevertheless disagreement on two issues:
(1) Whether Plaintiff's registration under Michigan's SORA would be for a period of 25 years or for a period of life;
(2) Whether going forward, the Plaintiff would be obligated to pay the annual fees as set out in M.C.L § § 28.725a(6)(b)-(c) and 28.725b(3).

         The Memorandum then enumerated, at pp. 2-3, the terms and issues that the parties had agreed upon. The following provisions are relevant Mr. Price's motion to withdraw from the agreement:

“It is the Court's understanding that the parties have agreed to settle this matter, and stipulate to a judgment ...

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