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Nur v. Stewart

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

August 22, 2019

ABDIRAHMAN NUR, D.D.S, Plaintiff,
v.
LAWRENCE W. STEWART, D.D.S., et al., Defendants

          ORDER (1) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL EXECUTION OF SETTLEMENT AND RELEASE AGREEMENT AND TO ENFORCE THE TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT (ECF #15) AND (2) DIRECTING DEFENDANTS TO SHOW CAUSE WHY THEY SHOULD NOT BE SANCTIONED

          MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I

         Plaintiff Abdirahman Nur, D.D.S., brings this action against Defendants Lawrence Stewart, D.D.S., Fill Good Dental Center, PLLC, and Fill Good Dental Care, PC. (See Am. Compl., ECF #7.) Nur asserts claims for, among other things, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, and willfully and oppressive conduct under Michigan Compiled Laws § 450.4515. (See id.) The dispute arises out of and relates to a dental practice that was operated by Nur and Stewart.

         On March 7, 2019, the parties attended a voluntary mediation conducted by Judge Neil G. Mullally (retired). And they reached a settlement. They memorialized the settlement in a document entitled “Settlement Agreement.” (See ECF #15-1.) The Settlement Agreement was signed by Nur individually and in his capacity as shareholder and officer of Fill Good Dental Center PLLC. (See Id. at Pg. ID 100.)

         The Settlement Agreement was also signed by Stewart individually and in his capacity as shareholder and officer of Fill Good Dental Center PLLC. (See id) The Settlement Agreement was not signed by Defendant Fill Good Dental Care PC. (See id) Counsel for all parties and the mediator also signed the Settlement Agreement. (See id.)

         The Settlement Agreement provided, among other things, that:

• The parties intended it to be a “full and final settlement.” (Id. at Pg. ID 99);
• Stewart would “assume the first $22, 000 of the principal” of a loan made by Banker's Health and would also assume “the total 100% obligation” of a loan made by Wells Fargo. (Id.);
• Stewart would make the payments owing on the Banker's Health and Wells Fargo loans “in a timely manner. (Id.);
• Stewart would pay all taxes for Fill Good Dental Center PLLC beginning January 1, 2014. (See id.);
• Nur would pay “50% of the [Fill Good Dental Center] PLLC taxes for the tax year ending December 31, 2013, and all prior years, up to a total of $2, 500. (Id.); and
• Stewart would pay the balance of Fill Good Dental Center PLLC's taxes for tax year 2013 and prior years. (See id)

         The Settlement Agreement contained the essential terms of the settlement, but it was not in the form of a formal settlement agreement. It was apparently not possible for the parties to prepare and finalize a formal settlement agreement on scene at the facilitation. Therefore, they provided in the Settlement Agreement that their lawyers would “prepare a formal settlement agreement” containing, among other things, broad mutual releases (the “Formal Agreement”). (Id.)

         After the mediation, counsel for Nur sent a draft of the Formal Agreement to the lawyer who represented Stewart and Fill Good Dental Center PLLC (“Stewart's Counsel”), and Stewart's Counsel returned a “mark up” showing his requested changes to the Formal Agreement. (See email correspondence between counsel, ECF #15-3 at Pg. ID 115-17.) Stewart's Counsel thereafter communicated to Nur's counsel that Stewart was willing to sign the Formal Agreement. (See id.) Stewart's counsel said that the executed Formal Agreement was “[o]n the way.” (Id. at Pg. ID 117.) But ...


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