Hanifi Marlow Jihad, #181136, pro se Plaintiff.
Angela Behrens, Minnesota Attorney General's Office, on behalf of Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, District Judge.
This matter is before the undersigned United States District Court Judge for consideration of Plaintiff Hanifi Marlow Jihad's Response and Objections [Doc. No. 222] to United States Magistrate Judge Leo I. Brisbois's September 7, 2012, Report and Recommendation ("R & R") [Doc. No. 214]. The Magistrate Judge recommended that Plaintiff's Motion to Enforce Settlement [Doc. No. 209] be denied. (Report and Recommendation dated Sept. 7, 2012 ("R & R"), at 4 [Doc. No. 214].) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's objections are overruled and the Court adopts the R & R.
The factual and procedural background of Plaintiff's case is well documented in the Magistrate Judge's R & R and is incorporated herein by reference. Briefly stated, Plaintiff is a Minnesota state prison inmate who is currently incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Stillwater. (Final Am. Compl. ¶ 3 [Doc. No. 120].) In this lawsuit, Plaintiff alleged that prison officials infringed his right to freely practice his religion, and he asserted claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000cc-1 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and the Minnesota Constitution. (Id. at 1-2.)
On May 2, 2011, this Court granted summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims, with the exception of Plaintiff's halal meals claim against Defendants Michelle Smith, Joan Fabian, and David Reishus. (Order dated May 2, 2011, at 20 [Doc. No. 198].) The Court also ordered the parties to engage in a settlement conference with the Magistrate Judge. (See id.) The parties reached an agreement on September 30, 2011 ("Settlement Agreement"). Relevant to the current matter before the Court, the Settlement Agreement provides that "[i]n consideration of the State's obligations..., [Plaintiff] will dismiss, with prejudice, all claims that the Court has not previously dismissed in this lawsuit, " and that the release of claims against Defendants would occur "upon executing th[e] agreement." (Settlement Agreement and Release of Claims dated Sept. 30, 2011, at 3-4.) In addition, the Agreement states that "it may be used to secure the dismissal, with prejudice, of th[e]... lawsuit, " and that "[a]ny action concerning the enforcement of th[e] agreement shall be filed in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota." (Id. at 5-6 (emphasis added).) Finally, the Agreement states that it "constitutes the entire agreement between [Plaintiff] and the defendants, " (id. at 4); and that the parties "had a full and fair opportunity to discuss and negotiate the terms of the agreement[, ]... fully understand the provisions of th[e] agreement[, ]... have determined that entering th[e] agreement is in their best interests[, ]... and... enter into th[e] agreement knowingly and voluntarily, " (id. at 6). The signature block contains Plaintiff's name and a signature. (See id. at 6.)
The parties then filed a Stipulation for Dismissal with Prejudice [Doc. No. 205] that states in its entirety: "Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a), the parties, by their respective counsel, hereby stipulate and agree to the dismissal with prejudice of the abovereferenced action and that each party shall bear their own costs." On October 3, 2011, the Court entered the following Order [Doc. No. 206] dismissing the case with prejudice:
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a), the parties, by their respective counsel, have stipulated and agreed to the dismissal with prejudice of the above-referenced action and that the parties shall bear their own costs and attorney fees.
Based upon that stipulation, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the abovereferenced action is dismissed with prejudice and without award of costs or attorney fees to any party.
The Clerk entered judgment accordingly [Doc. No. 207]. to obtain a copy of the Settlement Agreement.
Plaintiff now claims that Defendants have failed to comply with the Settlement Agreement's terms regarding the provision of halal meals. He filed a Motion to Enforce Settlement on July 27, 2012 [Doc. No. 209], along with a supporting memorandum [Doc. No. 210] and affidavit [Doc. No. 211]. Plaintiff asks the Court to enforce the terms of the Settlement Agreement pursuant to Rules 69(a), 70, and 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 28 U.S.C. § 1651(a), and he requests that the Court hold a civil contempt hearing pursuant to Rule 43(a). (See Brief in Supp. of Mot. for Execution, at 3-6 [Doc. No. 210].) He also asserts that he "is being deprived his [r]ight to exercise his statutory and constitutional [r]ights due to his successful litigation, " and that he "is being retaliated against by Defendants." (Id. at 6-7.) Defendants filed an opposition memorandum on August 3, 2012, arguing that the Court lacks jurisdiction over the issues raised in Plaintiff's motion. (Defs.' Mem. Opposing Mot. to Enforce Settlement Agreement, at 1-3 [Doc. No. 213].)
The motion was referred to the Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 72.1, and the Magistrate Judge issued his R & R on September 7, 2012. (R & R at 1 [Doc. No. 214].) He found that neither Rule 69(a) nor Rule 70 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is applicable to Plaintiff's case because there is no money judgment, or judgment for a specific act, to enforce. (Id. at 3.) He concluded that the Court lacks jurisdiction over Plaintiff's motion because the ...