OCAHO on I-9 Fine Settlement Agreements: USA v. California Mantel, Inc.

"CA Mantel’s motion requests that OCAHO compel the government to honor a settlement agreement the company said was reached between the parties on August 27, 2012.  The company asserts that after extensive negotiations the parties agreed that the case would be settled for $8000, and that each side would pay its own costs and fees.  The parties also agreed that counsel for ICE would draft the agreement, that CA Mantel would make the payment on October 1, 2012, and that the precise mailing instructions for the payment would be sent to the company once the settlement was approved by this office.  The motion says further that on August 27 the parties identified the individuals who would sign the settlement agreement on behalf of their respective parties.  CA Mantel asserts that notwithstanding the consummation of the agreement, ICE subsequently proposed in September to insert new and additional provisions that had not previously been contemplated or discussed, and that ICE should not be permitted to repudiate the agreement the parties originally made. ... 

... ICE first contends that this forum has no jurisdiction to enforce a settlement agreement, and that in any event no settlement agreement was ever finalized between the parties.  The government contends that there were unresolved material issues and that no mutual understanding was reached as to two specific provisions of the agreement.  ICE argues that the parties agreed on only one material term, the dollar amount of the settlement, but that they did not agree on other essential terms, making their agreement incomplete at best.  It asserts that the government intended, and also communicated to CA Mantel, “that any proposed settlement be reduced to a separate writing to be executed at a later time, including consent findings pursuant to section 68.14(a)(1) of the regulations.” ... 

... A settlement agreement need not be in writing to be enforceable. ... The parties to this matter entered a binding agreement in which the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agreed to accept, and California Mantel, Inc. agreed to pay, the sum of $8000 to settle the matter, with each side paying its own costs and fees.  The Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is precluded from pursuing this matter further, and the complaint must be dismissed." - USA v. California Mantel, Inc., Feb. 8, 2013.