Marking Court File Did Not Qualify as a CPLR 2104 Stipulation

A recent decision, Grant v. Almonte, 2019 NY Slip Op 00057 (App. Div. 1st Dept. Jan. 3, 2019), provides some insight into the mechanics of an “open court” settlement under New York Civil Practice Law & Rules 2104.

That statute provides:

An agreement between parties or their attorneys relating to any matter in an action, other than one made between counsel in open court, is not binding upon a party unless it is in a writing subscribed by him or his attorney or reduced to the form of an order and entered. With respect to stipulations of settlement and notwithstanding the form of the stipulation of settlement, the terms of such stipulation shall be filed by the defendant with the county clerk.

In this case, the court held that CPLR 2104 was not satisfied:

The requisite formality necessary to accord an oral agreement binding effect as an “open court” stipulation under CPLR 2104 was not present when, following a pre-trial conference at which an unidentified per diem attorney appeared for plaintiff, the matter was marked “settled” in the court’s records. There was no indication of the terms of the settlement, and the agreement was never further recorded, memorialized, or filed with the County Clerk