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Home / Case Digests / 00-1101 & 00-1505Higbee v. Sentry Insurance Co.

00-1101 & 00-1505Higbee v. Sentry Insurance Co.

“Here, although the release discussed at the conference purported to waive all of Higbee’s claims, the parties had not even discussed the worker’s compensation claim. Indeed, Higbee’s own attorney had ‘forgot[ten] all about that’ until a day or two after the conference. Higbee obviously wished to preserve this claim, but Sentry, at least at the conference, sought nothing less than a full waiver of all claims. Although Sentry subsequently agreed to exclude the worker’s compensation claim from the release, this belated concession has no bearing on whether an oral settlement was reached on April 2.

“Similarly, the wording of the confidentiality and nondisparagement clause was a material term, at least as far as Higbee was concerned… Here, the parties agreed on little more than the fact that the settlement agreement would contain a confidentiality and nondisparagement clause, and further negotiation was necessary to come to a specific agreement. Again, the fact that the parties eventually agreed, months later, on mutually satisfactory language is irrelevant.”

Reversed and Remanded

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Zagel, J., Evans, J.

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