California Section 664.6 - Filing a New Action After Settlement

In Viejo Bancorp, Inc. v. Wood (1989) 217 Cal. App. 3d 200 265 Cal. Rptr. 620 an action had been filed, the parties to that action had agreed to a settlement of the case, and the action had been dismissed. (Id. at pp. 203-204). One of the parties then filed a new action and successfully moved pursuant to section 664.6 to have a judgment entered in that new action enforcing the settlement agreement. (217 Cal. App. 3d at p. 204). Division Three of this court reversed, holding that a motion under section 664.6 "cannot be made in a separate action to enter judgment pursuant to the terms of a settlement in a prior action." (217 Cal. App. 3d at p. 208.) In reaching that conclusion, the court observed that, "by its very terms, section 664.6 is limited to settlements reached in pending litigation." (Viejo Bancorp, Inc. v. Wood, supra, 217 Cal. App. 3d at p. 206). Furthermore, the court assumed that section 664.6 "requires an action to be pending when the parties enter into the agreement." (217 Cal. App. 3d at p. 206). That assumption is illustrated by its characterization of the issue before it, i.e., whether section 664.6 is available "in an action other than the action in which the settlement was made." (217 Cal. App. 3d at p. 206).