Settlement Agreement? It Ain’t Over ‘Til it’s . . . Final, in Writing, Fully Executed, and Admissible

The end printed on paper in typewriter

Tuscany highlights an important takeaway: the often-overlooked distinction between forming a contract, and proving a contract.

April 12, 2021
Todd Likman - Colorado Construction Litigation

As litigators we have all been there: nearing the end of a hard-fought mediation that lasted all day. Your significant other texts to ask what is for dinner; daycare closes in thirty minutes; the dog needs to be let out. The mediator, a retired judge, gently reminds you of his prior commitment—a speaking engagement at a volunteer charity dinner event that night. Though the parties started the day at opposite ends of the spectrum, after numerous counteroffers, persistent negotiation, and mediation tactics, they finally strike a deal.

As the mediator prepares a document memorializing the terms of settlement, the parties wait with bloodshot eyes, and a sense of guarded accomplishment considering compromises were
made, but alas, an outcome seems certain. You text your significant other to indicate that you will pick something up for dinner on your way home.

Then, the mediator informs you that computer problems are preventing finalization and transmission of the document for signature. The mediator offers to send an e-mail setting forth the material settlement terms and asks each party to respond via e-mail to confirm the terms are correct, which the parties do. After a quick e-mail to your experts and case team asking them to cease trial preparation work, you leave for home.

Mr. Likman may be contacted at


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