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In re: Marie A. Cahill

16 B 01529
Debtor objected to the claim filed by the father of her children.  She asserted that he was precluded from relitigating the allocation of certain expenses by an agreed order entered in state court.  HELD: The state court agreed order, signed by both parties, is a settlement agreement.  When reviewing a settlement agreement, the court must look to the objective intent of the parties rather than their subjective intent.  Since the state court agreed order opened with the statement that it was “coming to be heard on the remaining financial issues in the cause,” it did not leave the allocation of those expenses open for later resolution.  The parties were bound by the terms of the order and barred from continued litigation.  Claim preclusion (res judicata) also applied to preclude the parties from relitigating the issues covered by the agreed order.  Although the father had filed a motion to vacate the agreed order after Debtor filed her objection to his claim, this did not affect the finality of the agreed order for purposes of claim preclusion.  Since the father’s claim was unenforceable under state law, the court sustained Debtor’s objection to claim.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023