Wendler seeks to enforce settlement of case that hasn't settled

Steve Korris Sep. 2, 2011, 4:27am

Attorney Brian Wendler of Edwardsville seeks to enforce settlement of a case he hasn't settled.

He filed an enforcement motion for Tennessee truck mechanic John Sheffer on Aug. 23, on a settlement that exists in electronic mail but not in the court docket.

Wendler told Madison County Associate Judge Clarence Harrison that Sheffer accepted an offer from Georgia trailer maker Cottrell Inc., for sufficient consideration.

"Under the law such settlements are enforceable by the court," he wrote.

He cited Marblehead v. Ribbeck, an Aug. 10 decision from the First District appellate court in Chicago.

He wrote that Cottrell made an offer on July 20, and Sheffer accepted on July 22.

He wrote that Sheffer hasn't received funds or a release and an affidavit he expected.

"Efforts to ascertain the reasons for such apparent breach have proved fruitless as defendant has failed to respond to the August 17 email," he wrote.

He attached July 20 email from Cottrell counsel Dan Carpenter of St. Louis, telling Wendler he conveyed Sheffer's counter offer to Cottrell.

Carpenter wrote, "As we've discussed, Cottrell's position regarding settling these cases is much different than it was in the past, when its insurance situation was different etc.

"That said, the Sheffer offer of $17,500 was made long ago, the amount was agreed to back then, and it is still willing to abide by that offer."

He wrote that Cottrell agreed to assume responsibility for a Cassens Transport workers' compensation lien up to $1 million.

He attached his July 22 email telling Carpenter that Sheffer accepted his offer.

"Please forward the paperwork," Wendler wrote.

Sheffer sued Cottrell and others in 2008, claiming defects in a rig resulted in severe and permanent injuries to his head, neck and shoulders.

In the First District case Wendler cited, First Marblehead Corporation sued Monica Ribbeckto recover $95,699.77 on promissory notes, plus fees and interest.

Her lawyer offered a lump sum of $45,000, and the lender accepted.

The lump sum didn't materialize, and the lender moved to enforce the settlement.

Cook County Circuit Judge Brigid McGrath granted the motion, and Ribbeck appealed.

Three First District judges found the terms in the alleged agreement clear and definite enough to constitute an enforceable contract.

They wrote that terms are sufficiently definite and certain if a court can ascertain what parties agreed to under proper rules of construction and applicable principles of equity.

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