Posts tagged "Duff"

Duff, et al. v. McKay, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-067-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   15-P-634                                        Appeals Court   DANIEL DUFF & another[1]  vs.  JOHN McKAY & others.[2] No. 15-P-634. Plymouth.     January 19, 2016. – June 14, 2016.   Present:  Grainger, Rubin, & Milkey, JJ.     Contract, Settlement agreement, What constitutes, Performance and breach.  Judgment, Implementing settlement agreement.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on April 9, 2013.   A motion to enforce settlement and to dismiss the complaint was heard by Beverly J. Cannone, J., and entry of separate and final judgment was ordered by her.     Stephen W. Rider for the plaintiffs. Colin Black for the defendants.      MILKEY, J.  In 2010, plaintiffs Daniel and Lisa Duff hired the defendants to perform a renovation project at their home in Hingham.  A dispute ensued regarding the defendants’ workmanship and their alleged failure to obtain a building permit in a timely manner.  In May of 2012, the Duffs sought redress by initiating arbitration through the State program created in accordance with G. L. c. 142A.[3]  The following year, on the eve of the assigned arbitrator’s scheduled view of the property, the parties reached an apparent settlement of their dispute.  Nonetheless, a formal settlement document was never executed because of a disagreement regarding payment terms.  When the parties reached an impasse in resolving that issue, the Duffs withdrew their request for arbitration and filed a multicount action in the Superior Court asserting their underlying claims.  The defendants moved to dismiss the action and to enforce the settlement.  A Superior Court judge allowed that motion and entered judgment requiring the defendants to pay the agreed-to amount within ten days.  On the Duffs’ appeal, we affirm. Background.  The parties’ key communications were memorialized in electronic mail messages (e-mails), copies of which were submitted to the motion judge.[4]  As a result, the essential facts pertaining to the parties’ negotiations are uncontested. At the heart of this case is a March 21, 2013, e-mail exchange between counsel that followed extended and vigorous settlement discussions.  Counsel for the Duffs wrote to “confirm what I believe our respective clients have agreed to.”  He then listed six terms.  Key among those terms were the requirements that the defendants pay the Duffs $ 27,500, and that the parties “exchange mutual general releases, subject only to the obligations in the settlement agreement.”[5]  The list of terms did not specify […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 14, 2016 at 9:45 pm

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