United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ENFORCING AGREEMENT AND
MAKING FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Clark, United Slates District Judge
the court are Plaintiffs' Motion for Entry of Proposed
Order (Dkt. # 95) and Defendant's Motion to Enforce
Settlement Agreement (Dkt. # 98). For the reasons discussed
below, Plaintiffs' Motion for Entry of Proposed Order
(Dkt. # 95) is granted in part and denied in part, and
Defendant's Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement (Dkt.
# 98) is granted in part and denied in part.
Douglas T. Floyd and Mark D. Floyd sued Defendant Satu Tuulia
Aalei (identified by her attorney as Ms. Lowe) in state
court, alleging a state law claim of defamation. Ms. Lowe
removed the case on the basis of diversity jurisdiction.
Douglas Floyd is an attorney at law. This suit arises from his
representation of Ms. Lowe in a criminal matter and in a
divorce action. Ms. Lowe was arrested in April 2007 for
aggravated assault and criminal mischief. See Dkt. #
18-1, at p. 2. Douglas Floyd and Ms. Lowe entered into a
“Contract of Employment for Legal Services, ”
under which Ms. Lowe agreed to transfer title to certain real
property she owned to Douglas Floyd, by Warranty Deed, as
collateral for the payment of his attorney's fees.
attorney-client relationship between Ms. Lowe and Douglas
Floyd deteriorated, and Ms. Lowe terminated Douglas Floyd as
her attorney on or about October 23, 2007. Douglas Floyd
asserts that his communications with Ms. Lowe “left
[him] with the distinct impression that she was not going to
pay the balance he had billed her, ” and therefore, he
recorded the Warranty Deed on October 31, 2007. (Dkt. # 18-1,
at p. 6-7). In November 2007, Ms. Lowe paid the outstanding
balance (Dkt. # 18-1, at p. 7 and Dkt. # 12-1, at p. 9), and
Douglas Floyd transferred the property back to her on
December 12, 2007 (see Dkt. # 18-1, at p. 7; Dkt. #
12-1, at pp. 14-15).
Lowe posted statements, which she contends are a
“consumer review” about Douglas and Mark Floyd,
on RipoffReport.com. (Dkt. # 44, at p. 2, ¶ 6a); (Dkt. #
63, at p. 3, ¶6). The Floyds brought suit against Ms.
Lowe, alleging that her statements on RipoffReport.com are
January 30, 2017, the court began jury selection in this
matter and ultimately empaneled a jury of nine. On February
1, 2017, counsel gave opening statements. Upon the conclusion
of opening statements, and before the Floyds called their
first witness, counsel for the Floyds, Mr. Norcross,
requested ten minutes to discuss settlement. About one hour
later, counsel returned and announced that they had reached a
for Ms. Lowe outlined the terms of the settlement on the
MR. AALAEI: The parties-Lowe, Mark Floyd, Douglas Floyd-
agree to settle the entire action and agree to a mutual full
release of claims-of all claims in the action and any claims
that could have been brought on the following terms.
The parties shall bear their own costs and attorneys'
Neither side will pay the other side any monetary
compensation as part of the settlement.
Within 14 days the parties will complete a long form
settlement agreement and will submit a joint stipulation and
order of dismissal which also makes findings sufficient to
comply with Ripoff Report's requirements for removal of
content, including that the order is supported by admissible
evidence including reasonably corroborated evidence and
affidavits and sworn declarations that are part of the court
THE COURT: All right. So, let me just confirm that we're
talking about both sides are dismissing all claims they have
against each other as of this time, whether under
constitutional law, statutory law, or common law, whether
heretofore asserted or not asserted, and that both sides will
bear their own attorneys' fees and costs and that the
dismissals of all those claims on both sides will be with
prejudice, that the court will retain jurisdiction to enforce
the settlement. Is that plaintiffs' understanding?
MR. NORCROSS: Yes, your Honor.
THE COURT: And is that defendant's understanding?
MR. AALAEI: Yes, your Honor.
THE COURT: And just to be sure-I don't want this coming
up again later on.
Since you are here, Ms. Lowe, would you please step forward .
. . .
THE COURT: Okay. And as I understand it, both sides are going
to agree to file whatever is needed with the ripoffreport.com
to get them to take down the postings that you had entered.
Do you understand that?
MS. LOWE: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: Okay. And if ripoffreport.com wants a statement or
a letter from you, then you're willing to provide it?
MS. LOWE: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: Okay. Same questions to Mr. Floyd and Mr. Floyd,
both of you. You understand the same thing. You're giving
up all claims, whether you have asserted them or not in this
case, against defendant and that you are also agreeing to
submit whatever papers are needed to take down ...