Say a settlement agreement was reached where a shopper sued a grocery store over food that gave her food poisoning. If the terms of the settlement agreement were

  1. grocery store shall pay shopper $100
  2. grocery store shall give customer a free steak
  3. customer will remove her negative review from Yelp
  4. both parties release each other and won't bring legal action for anything relating to this subject

Assume all terms must be executed within one weeks time. If the week past and the shopper didn't receive $100 what would be her next course of action? Would she just go back to court or would it somehow be easier? If they go back to court, can the shopper sue for other things, especially considering term 4? For example if the shopper had claimed $300 but agreed to $100 in term 1. in the event of breach could they sue for the original $300 or some other claim they had waived?

If the shopper did not remove the negative review from Yelp, would the grocery store still need to execute their terms (1. and 2.) or would they somehow be exonerated?

Must the shopper execute 2. even though it's to her own benefits? For example if she decides she doesn't trust the grocery store enough she doesn't want another steak from them.

1 Answer 1


If the agreement is the result of a binding determinative process like the decision of a court, arbitrator or administrative tribunal, the aggrieved party can go to the court for enforcement.

If it isn’t, then the agreement may be enforceable as a contract (see What is a contract and what is required for them to be valid?). Breach of the contract allows the aggrieved party all the normal remedies.

In either case, breach by one party does not excuse breach by the other. Of course, the agreement can be worded “you do this then I do that” so if you don’t do this, you are in breach but I’m not.

If it isn’t either of the above, it can’t be enforced.

  • Would the breaching party be penalized in someway, for example to be ordered pay more than the original settlement?
    – Platband
    Aug 15, 2019 at 6:52
  • @Platband No. Civil cases are to put you back in the situation you would have been if the wrong had not occurred. If a party is to be punished, then you need the criminal law. Aug 15, 2019 at 12:57
  • @Platband failing to comply with a court order is a crime subject to punishment by the state
    – Dale M
    Oct 28, 2019 at 19:10

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