“Enforce” settlement does not mean “change” settlement.

Sundown Energy could access its oil and gas production facility via the Mississippi River, but had to cross Haller’s land to access it from the highway.  They litigated about Sundown’s rights and reached a settlement, which their counsel read into the record on the day set for trial.  The Fifth Circuit found that the parties had reached a settlement, which the district court had the authority to enforce pursuant to their agreement.  The Court reversed, though, as to the district court’s resolution of several logistical issues: “Here, the district court erred by imposing several terms which either conflicted with or added to the agreement read into the record by the parties. Although the parties gave the district court the authority to enforce and interpret the settlement agreement, the district court did not have the power to change the terms of the settlement agreed to by the parties.”  Sundown Energy L.P. v. Haller, No. 13-30294 et al. (Dec. 8, 2014).

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