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Patel v. Barot

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Newport News Division

June 13, 2014

MUKESH PATEL, Plaintiff,


HENRY COKE MORGAN, Jr., Senior District Judge.

This matter came before the Court on the Motions of James R. Theuer, PLLC ("Theuer") to Intervene and for Order of Contempt and Entry of Judgment ("Motions"), Docs. 56 & 57. Ruling from the bench, the Court GRANTED the Motion to Intervene, Doc. 56, and RESERVED RULING on the Motion for Order of Contempt and Entry of Judgment, Doc. 57.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

On May 2, 2013, Plaintiff Mukesh Patel ("Patel" or "Plaintiff) filed a Complaint against the Defendants, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), violations of Virginia's minimum wage law, assault, and battery. Doc. 1. A settlement conference was held before Magistrate Judge Lawrence Leonard on January 14, 2014. Settlement discussions continued, Doc. 43 at 2, and a Joint Notice of Settlement was filed on January 27, 2014, Doc. 38. A Motion for Settlement and Dismissal was filed by the Defendants on February 5, 2014. Doc. 39. A Motion for Settlement Approval was filed on February 7, 2014. Doc. 42. Plaintiff then filed a Memorandum in Opposition to the Motion on February 19, 2014. Doc. 44. Plaintiffs counsel, James R. Theuer, then filed a Motion to Withdraw that same day. Doc. 45.

Plaintiffs opposition did not state why he opposed the settlement. Doc. 44. In their supporting Memorandum, Defendants submitted an e-mail from Plaintiffs counsel stating, in whole:

This confirms that Plaintiff accepts the offer of settlement, to wit:

Defendants will pay $100, 000 in six equal installments beginning 14 days from court approval and on 30-day intervals thereafter. Plaintiff will designate the allocation. In addition, Defendants will not dispute such that Plaintiff will get the $4855.85 on deposit with DOL from DBSH. The settlement amount will be secured through a promissory note and recorded DOT by CAAP Hospitality, LLC, against the Hampton Bay Plaza hotel property. Court retains jurisdiction to enforce the settlement.

Doc. 39-1. The e-mail is signed by Plaintiffs counsel. Id.

In an Order dated April 23, 2014, the Court granted Defendants' Motion for Settlement Approval and enforced the settlement agreement. Patel v. Barot, 2014 WL 1624001 (E.D. Va. Apr. 23, 2014). While the Order does not contain any language specifically stating that the Court retained jurisdiction to enforce the settlement, the Court found that Plaintiff" authorized Theuerto settle the case according to the terms of the e-mail." Id . at *4. Additionally, the Court found that an enforceable settlement was reached, and that the terms of the settlement were those contained in the e-mail, which stated the Court retains jurisdiction of the settlement. Id . at *5 n.7. The Order approved the allocation of $38, 856.85 in attorney's fees and costs to Theuer to be paid out of the settlement proceeds. Id . at *6. The Defendants have not made any installment payments to Theuer, nor has the above-reference deed of trust been executed.

Theuer filed the instant Motions on May 20, 2014. Docs. 56 & 57. Defendants filed their Opposition to the Motions on June 4, 2014.[1] Doc. 60.

II. Legal Standards

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2) allows for intervention of right when someone "claims an interest relating to the property or transaction that is the subject of the action, and is so situated that disposing of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the movant's ability to protect its interest, unless existing parties adequately represent that interest."The Fourth Circuit has parsed this rule into four threshold requirements:

First, the intervenor must submit a timely motion to intervene in the adversary proceeding. Second, he must demonstrate a "direct and substantial interest" in the property or transaction. Third, he has to prove that the interest would be impaired if intervention was not allowed. Finally, he must establish that the interest is inadequately represented by existing parties.

Richman v. First Women's Bank , 104 F.3d 654, 659 (4th Cir. 1997). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(c) requires that the motion to intervene be served in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5, and that it "must state the grounds for intervention and be accompanied by a pleading ...

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