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The Devil’s Advocate

In which the curmudgeonly old sod puts the world to rights.

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A page dedicated to those curly juridical conundrums that real life occasionally throws up. You have three hours.

Privity, loss and the litigation settlement deed

A few years ago Eddie, Robbie and Andy met in unsavoury circumstances. Robbie said Eddie and Andy did some unspeakable things to him. He sued Eddie.

A while ago, Eddie settled all Robbie’s claims, including any related claims against Andy, by paying Robbie $500,000.

Robbie accepted this settlement in full and final settlement of all claims against Eddie, on legal advice, without duress, and neither Eddie nor Andy admitted any of Robbie’s allegations actually happened. As part of his settlement with Eddie, Robbie agreed not to sue either of them.

A few years later, Eddie died.

A few years after that, Robbie launched a new civil suit against Andy relating to the same alleged events, notwithstanding the prior settlement agreement with the late Eddie.

The settlement agreement is enforceable according to its terms.

1. Under Robbie’s new suit against Andy, is the settlement agreement relevant to:

(A) whether Robbie has a claim versus Andy at all?

(B) the amount Robbie way claim in damages if he wins the suit?

2. Imagine the events in question involved only Robbie and Andy, and Eddie was simply an insurer, who had paid Robbie under an insurance policy covering the alleged events. Ignoring any subrogation rights Eddie may have against Andy, would your answers change?