Allegedly fraudulent settlement not set aside

diver down flagCal Dive settled a hard-fought lawsuit against Schmidt, one of its divers, who alleged that he suffered a debilitating brain injury on the job.  A year after the settlement, having continued with surveillance that it conducted during the litigation, Cal Dive brought an “independent action” under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(1) to set aside the settlement, alleging “that, after reaching the Agreement but before signing the Release, Schmidt had acquired a driver’s license and purchased a new car. In the months following the settlement, Schmidt was observed “cutting his grass, shopping, driving, and jogging for at least two miles.”  The Fifth Circuit affirmed dismissal of Cal Dive’s action for failure to plead reliance, noting that during the litigation, “Cal Dive did not believe Schmidt’s allegations or testimony and hired its own experts to examine him over several years.”  Cal Dive Int’l v. Schmidt, No. 15-30300 (Jan. 21, 2016, unpublished).

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