Summary Enforcement of Settlement Agreement Not Appropriate Due to Ambiguity
Summary Enforcement of Settlement Agreement Not Appropriate Due to Ambiguity

In Flessas v. Rouisse, Judge Davis denied “dueling motions” seeking enforcement of the parties’ settlement agreement. The settlement agreement arose out of a dispute in which Costas Flessas alleged that he was fraudulently induced into purchasing a 15% interest in the Essex Sports Center, LLC, which operates an indoor sports facility. The settlement agreement provided that certain defendants would purchase Flessas’ ownership interest, who would thereafter release his claims.

Scott Rouisse, named as a defendant in the case, was not a party to the settlement agreement. The agreement stated, however, that Flessas was required to release all “Defendants, as well as their respective employees, agents, representatives . . ., which expressly excludes Scott Rouisse only to the extent necessary for Defendants, not Flessas, to pursue the claims after Flessas receives [the settlement payment].” Flessas maintained that he could proceed with his individual claims against Rouisse. Conversely, the defendants argued that the agreement allowed only “Defendants, not Flessas, to pursue the claims” against Rouisse.

Under Massachusetts law, “a court has the inherent authority to summarily enforce an agreed-upon settlement between litigating parties.” Summary enforcement of a settlement agreement is not appropriate, however, when the terms of the agreement are ambiguous or imprecise.

Denying both motions, Judge Davis ruled that the settlement agreement was ambiguous about whether Flessas could pursue individual claims against Rouisse. An evidentiary hearing, according to Judge Davis, would be necessary to resolve the ambiguity.

The Business Litigation Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court

Docket Number: 1784CV04034-BLS1

Case Name: Flessas v. Rouisse, et al.

Dates of Decision: December 2, 2019

Judge: Brian A. Davis

Justice: Justice Davis

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