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CLAUDE H. PHILLIP,
SMALL CLAIM NO. 62-05
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR DISMISSAL; JUDGMENT; ORDER FOR PAYMENT
Yosiwo P. George
Hearing: November 7, 2005
Decided: November 10, 2005
For the Plaintiff:Canney L. Palsis, Esq.
Micronesian Legal Services Corporation
P.O. Box 38
Tofol, Kosrae FM 96944
For the Defendant: Snyder H. Simon, trial counselor
P.O. Box 1017
Tofol, Kosrae FM 96944
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Civil Procedure) Motions
Kosrae Rule 11 requires that every pleading of a party represented by an attorney or trial counselor must be signed by at least one attorney or trial counselor of record in his individual name and a party who is not represented by an attorney or trial counselor must sign his pleading. Thus, when a defendant, and not his trial counselor, signed a motion for dismissal himself, the signing of the motion did not comply with Rule 11. George v. Phillip, 13 FSM Intrm. 520, 521 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2005).
A plaintiffís claim based upon defendantís breach of the settlement agreement reached in an earlier court case, is not based upon the merits of the claim presented in that case because that caseís merits were resolved by settlement between the parties, and based upon that settlement, that case was dismissed. George v. Phillip, 13 FSM Intrm. 520, 521 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2005).
Civil Procedure) Res Judicata; Settlement
When a settlement agreement was reached by the parties in a case, it represents a new
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agreement between the parties. The failure to comply with the settlement agreement is a new claim, separate and independent of the original claim. Settlement agreements are contracts which are enforceable by a court. Therefore, the doctrine of res judicata does not apply to a settlement agreement and accordingly a motion for dismissal must be denied. George v. Phillip, 13 FSM Intrm. 520, 521 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2005).
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YOSIWO P. GEORGE, Chief Justice:
On November 7, 2005, a hearing was held on this small claim. A Motion for Dismissal had been filed by Defendant pro se on November 4, 2005. An Opposition to the Motion was filed on November 7, 2005 by Plaintiff. Canney Palsis, MLSC, appeared for the Plaintiff. Snyder Simon represented the Defendant.
As a preliminary matter, the filing of Defendantís Motion for Dismissal is addressed. The Motion was filed by the Defendant himself, Mr. Phillip, on November 4, 2005. Snyder Simon represents Defendant in this matter. Mr. Simon accepted service of notice of hearing on November 1, 2005 at this Courthouse, on behalf of the Defendant, as legal counsel of Defendant. Furthermore, Mr. Simon, who was listed as counsel for the Defendant on the Courtís calendar, did not object to or correct that listing on the Courtís calendar. Consequently, Mr. Simonís actions before this Court were accepted as his legal representation of the Defendant, effective November 1, 2005.
KRCP Rule 11 requires that "every pleading of a party represented by an attorney or trial counselor shall be signed by at least one attorney or trial counselor of record in his individual name. . .A party who is not represented by an attorney or trial counselor shall sign his pleading . . . ." Here, the Motion for Dismissal was signed by the Defendant himself and not by his trial counselor, Mr. Simon. Therefore, the signing of the Motion for Dismissal did not comply with KRCP Rule 11. Plaintiff also raises the manner of service of the Motion. Plaintiff claims that the Motion was served upon him by Macdonald Ittu, who is not connected to this matter, and therefore service is improper. Defendant did not provide a satisfactory reason as to why the Motion was served upon Plaintiff by Mr. Ittu, a person unrelated to this matter. The Motion for Dismissal does not comply with the requirements of KRCP Rule 11 and is therefore defective.
The Motion for Dismissal must also be denied on a substantive basis. Plaintiffís claim is based upon Defendantís breach of the settlement agreement reached in Small Claim No. 60-03, and is not based upon the merits of the claim presented in Small Claim No. 60-03. The merits of Small Claim No. 60-03 were resolved by settlement between the parties, and based upon that settlement, Small Claim No. 60-03 was dismissed. The settlement agreement reached by the parties in Small Claim No. 60-03 represents a new agreement between the parties. The Defendantís failure to comply with the settlement agreement is a new claim, separate and independent of the original claim. Settlement agreements are contracts which are enforceable by this Court. See James v. Lelu Town, 11 FSM Intrm. 337 (Kos. S. Ct. Tr. 2003). Therefore, the doctrine of res judicata does not apply to the settlement agreement in this matter, and accordingly Defendantís Motion for Dismissal must be denied.
The parties do not dispute the amount owed by the Defendant, based upon the settlement agreement: $892.50. The Defendant proposes to pay the amount by check to the Kosrae Marshall Group, an allegedly defunct group. Defendant now claims that the members of the Kosrae Marshall Group is the intended beneficiaries of the settlement payment. This Small Claim was filed by the Plaintiff as an individual. Therefore, this Court must consider the Plaintiffís claim as filed by the
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Plaintiff as an individual. The Defendant does not dispute that the amount of $892.50 is due and payable pursuant to the settlement agreement. Accordingly, based upon the information provided to this Court bythe parties, the Defendant is liable to the Plaintiff for the settlement amount.
Judgment is entered in favor of the Plaintiff and against the Defendant, in the amount of $892.50. Payment shall be made by the Defendant to the Plaintiff, as an individual. Payment shall not be made to the Kosrae Marshall Group. Plaintiff shall distribute the settlement amount as appropriate to the members of the Kosrae Marshall Group. Plaintiff shall be solely liable for any claims regarding improper distribution of the settlement amount.
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