Earlier today, Blawgletter mentioned a Seventh Circuit decision that upheld summary enforcement of an oral settlement agreement. Later in the day, we learned of a First Circuit decision in which the court reversed a summary judgment that enforced a pre-litigation settlement agreement between a contractor and subcontractor. TLT Construction Corp. v. RI, Inc., No. 06-2214 (1st Cir. Apr. 19, 2007).
The difference? Blawgletter has three hypotheses. First, in the Seventh Circuit case, the party seeking enforcement alleged that formation of an oral contract happened before the parties tried to reduce it to writing; the First Circuit case, by contrast, involved a claim that one of the writings the parties exchanged reflected agreement on all material terms. Second, Illinois law differs a lot from Massachusetts law on contract formation. And, third, the Seventh Circuit applied an abuse of discretion standard of review, but the First Circuit examined the summary judgment de novo.
Blawgletter votes for door number three.