Super Wash, Inc. v. Allen, No. 06 C 50169, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Apr. 20, 2007) (Mahoney, Mag. J.).

Magistrate Judge Mahoney recommended dismissing one group of defendants’ ("Genecor defendants") motion to enforce the settlement agreement and the other group’s ("MJR defendants") motion for judgment and sanctions.  Plaintiff alleged that defendants infringed its trademarks related to its "Super Wash" car washes, engaged in Lanham Act unfair competition, falsely designated its origins pursuant to the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act and related state law claims.  Shortly after the case was filed, it was stayed to allow settlement discussions and a settlement conference was held by the Court.  At that conference the parties agree that an agreement was reached, but disagree as to its scope and power.  Plaintiff alleged that a settlement had been reached on some terms subject to resolving the remaining terms and memorializing the agreement in writing.  The defendants, on the other hand, all agree that a binding settlement was agreed to and read aloud by the Court.  Defendants agreed that they were required to:  1) pay plaintiff a sum of money; 2) stop using plaintiff’s marks; 3) provide plaintiff reasonable assistance in removing the marks from the internet, phone books, etc. and 4) were not required to admit liability.  But the Genecor defendants believe the agreement stipulated that neither the settlement agreement or any discovery from the case could be used in a pending state court case.  The MJR defendants believe there was no limitations on the use of information from or about the instant case in the pending state court case.  The Court, therefore, held that it could not grant defendants’ motions to enforce the agreement or enter sanctions related to it.  There was no evidence of a meeting of the minds as to the use of information from the case in the state court case, which was a material term of the agreement.  And Illinois law required a meeting of the minds on a settlement’s major terms in order to have an enforceable oral settlement agreement.