Think there has to be one, single comprehensive writing to evidence a settlement? If you do, you're like some of the inept lawyers I've dealt with lately. By reading below, you'll be further along than some people who actually have a law license to practice here in Minnesota.
- A settlement of a lawsuit is contractual in nature, and to constitute a full and enforceable settlement, there must be a definite offer and acceptance with a meeting of the minds on the essential terms of the agreement." TNT Props., Ltd. v. Tri-Star Developers LLC, 677 N.W.2d 94, 100-01 (Minn. Ct. App. 2004).
- Despite some incompleteness and imperfection of expression, an agreement should be upheld where a court can reasonably find the parties' intent by applying the words as the parties must have understood them. Hartung v. Billmeier, 243 Minn. 148, 151, 66 N.W.2d 784, 788 (1954).
- When determining whether a contract has been formed, courts look to the objective conduct of the parties and not their subjective intent. Gresser v. Hotzler, 604 N.W.2d 379, 382 (Minn. Ct. App. 2000).
Can you discern what is not required? You got it, a final, comprehensive writing. That final writing is the best document to capture the negotiations, but if a party gets poor legal advice and refuses to sign a final writing, it does not mean a settlement has not been reached.