North Bank Towing Corporation, et al. v. Andrew Paul Remedies


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[B]Case Name: [/B]North Bank Towing Corporation, et al. v. Andrew Paul Remedies
[B]Date Decided: [/B]December 23, 2009
[B]Court: [/B]Court of Appeal of Louisiana, First Circuit
[B]Judge: [/B]Judge Carter, Judge Guidry, Judge Pettigrew
[B]Citation: [/B]2009 WL 4983595 (La.App. 1 Cir.)[B]Background:
[/B]Andrew Paul Remedies (Remedies), filed a Jones Act claim against North Bank Towing Corporation. This appeal involves a counter claim, filed by North Bank, alleging a breach of a settlement agreement entered into by Remedies and North Bank.

North Bank filed this action, breach of settlement agreement, in district court seeking indemnity and defense costs resulting from Remedies’s breach. Remedies filed a counterclaim for his personal injuries and a motion of summary judgment arguing an enforceable contract was not entered into.

The trial court granted Remedies’ motion for summary judgment and held that a binding settlement agreement was never entered into.

North Bank appealed.

[B]Issue: [/B]
Did North Bank and Remedies enter into an enforceable settlement agreement for Remedies’ Jones Act claims?

[B]Held:
[/B]North Bank claimed that the trial court erred in concluding that there were no genuine issues of material fact with respect to the parties’ intent in negotiating and entering into the settlement, and whether there was a meeting of the minds with respect to the settlement and (2) concluding that the settlement agreement was unenforceable.

The district court found that Remedies did not agree to settle with North Bank for $30,000. They relied upon a transcript which showed that Remedies’ attorney at the time stated they were “not going forward with the settlement.”

Moreover, the transcript further showed that North Bank’s attorney said “these are not valid settlement agreements, because they haven’t been delivered in exchange for a check…”.

Ultimately this Court held that although Remedies signed the settlement documents, he told his attorney that he didn’t want to go forward with the settlement and the documents were shredded.

Accordingly, because North Bank did not sign the documents before Remedies withdrew his consent, this Court found that the trial court did not err in granting Remedies’ motion for summary judgment.

[B]Comment:
When there is a settlement agreement involving a Jones Act case, the law requires that there be, under oath, an interrogation concerning whether the seaman understands what the settlement is and the seaman is in agreement in the deposition. [/B]

[B]Here, the seaman knew what the settlement was but ultimately did not agree to its terms before North Bank had a chance to. [/B]

[B]Steve Gordon [/B]

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