Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Stipulations Are Binding Contracts and, If Court Approved, Should Not Lightly be Set Aside

From Porter v. King, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67552 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 3, 2009):

Generally, pretrial stipulations as to facts entered into between parties are binding on the parties and the Court. See 73 AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE 2D STIPULATIONS § 7 (2009); see also Gander v. Gander, 250 F.3d 606, 609 (8th Cir. 2001). It is also "a well-recognized rule of law that valid stipulations entered into freely and fairly, and approved by the court, should not be lightly set aside" given that stipulations "promote judicial economy by narrowing the issues in dispute during litigation." Waldorf v. Shuta, 142 F.3d 601, 616 (3d Cir. 1998). However, the construction and interpretation of a stipulation is determined by the Court, which applies general principles of contract law to determine its meaning by ascertaining the parties' intent when entering into the stipulation. Washington Hospital v. White, 889 F.2d 1294, 1299-1300 (3d Cir. 1989). "In interpreting a stipulation, courts should consider its plain language and the circumstances surrounding the formation of the stipulation which may explain its meaning." Waldorf, 142 F.3d at 612 (internal quotation omitted). Moreover, "[t]o be unambiguous, an agreement must be reasonably capable of only one construction." Washington Hosp., 889 F.2d at 1301.

Share this article:


Recent Posts