Aug 27, 2009
Court of Appeal reverses order purporting to enforce pre-trial settlement as inconsistent with settlement’s terms

Murphy v. Hansen (2009) 2009 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 6975 (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division One) [unpublished]. After GMSR’s client purchased a Malibu hilltop homesite together with essential access easements, a neighboring landowner challenged the easements’ existence. The multiple disputing parties in two lawsuits entered into a complex written settlement agreement involving transfers of land, easements, trust deeds, and cash—but then could not agree on the interests to be transferred. The trial court nevertheless issued an order enforcing the settlement against GMSR’s client. On appeal from that order the Court of Appeal confirmed that the enforcement did not square with the settlement agreement, setting aside the order and leaving open the question whether the settlement can be enforced at all.