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Kokkonen Redux

What Works, What Doesn't, and Why, When Settling a Case Conditioned on Dismissal

By Brian Lawlor & Elizabeth S. Noling

Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Insurance of America established a relatively bright-line jurisdictional rule for determining whether a party can return to the federal forum to seek enforcement of a settlement agreement obtained on condition of dismissal of the underlying lawsuit. This article revisits the problems posed for litigators by Kokkonen and discusses strategic options to assure that parties are not inadvertently prevented from returning to federal court to vindicate the terms of a settlement agreement.

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