What Goes into a Legal Settlement Agreement in Wellesley MA?

When parties agree to resolve a litigation or other dispute, they often document the agreement in something called a “Settlement Agreement” describing the rights and duties of the parties. Although every agreement is different, legal settlement agreements in Wellesley Massachusetts often have the following provisions.

Descriptive Provisions

The agreement must describe the dispute that is being resolved. The description may be a reference to a previously filed litigation or a more general description. It is worth being particularly careful with this part of the agreement to be sure the resolution is broad enough – or narrow enough.

Payment

Many agreements to resolve disputes include one party making payments. The agreement should spell out the amount and terms of the payments. For example, is there a one-time payment, or are payments made over time?

Actions by the Parties

Some agreements require parties to take specific actions. Employment separation agreements often speak of references, for instance. Part of the agreement may also be that the parties enter into ancillary agreements, like purchase agreements and partnership agreements, that then become part of the whole arrangement. If disputes with multiple parties, multiple causes of action and even multiple litigation cases pending in different courts, documenting all the actions that have to happen can become a lengthy exercise.

Release

If the goal is to resolve the dispute fully and finally, each party releases the other from any future claims and agrees not to sue the other.

Disclaimer

The parties often state that neither is admitting any wrongdoing or liability in the matter. This prevents the agreement from being used against a party in any future litigation or even a criminal action. T

Confidentiality Clause

One reason for parties to agree to a settlement is to protect their reputations. If the defendant is a business, it generally wants to keep the terms private in order to prevent future claimants from seeking a large payout on a marginal claim. Embarrassing information may also have emerged through the process of litigation.

Dismissing the Case

If litigation has been commenced, then the parties agree to file the papers needed to dismiss it. Some cases need court approval to be dismissed. The agreement must reflect that, too.

The Usual Boilerplate

A settlement agreement is a contract. All the usual provisions at the end of a contract go in.

Documenting the settlement of litigation or resolution of a dispute may not be as complex as some other legal documents. It is not nearly as difficult as reaching the settlement. However, it is still important to get the settlement agreement right.