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Settlement Release Questions: Accept, Reject or Counteroffer?

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Inspired by my efforts to challenge YuckCo Cable, I decided to publish an ebook retelling my factual experiences with YuckCo Cable company. It's been up for a week. I've sold 31 copies! Yay!


....and then....


YuckCo today sent me a settlement offer with following provision:



In accepting this agreement, MehtaX hereby release, acquit, and forever discharge YuckCo, YuckCo Industries, YuckCo Bank, its officers, directors, representatives, agents, attorneys, parents, affiliates, bank partners, alliance partners, clearing banks, predecessors, successors, vendors, and assignes, whether specifically named herein or not, or anf from adn covenant and afree not to sue any of the Released Parties regarding any and all manner of action and actions, cause and causes of action, suits, debts, dues, costs, and expenses, sums of money, accounts, reckonings, bonds, bills, covenants, contracts, controversies, agreements, promises, variances, damages, judgements, executions, claims, and demands whatsoever, in law or in equity which MehtaX have ever had or will have  or which any representative, successor, ehir or assign of Mehta X hereafter can shall or may have against any of the Released Parties for upon or by reason of any matter relating to the captioned Lawsuit, at any time in the past up through and including the date hereof.


My main issues with signing this release is that their 'alliance partners' at YuckCo include my bank, and 5 of the 6 largest banks in the country. Additionally, per YuckCo's website, Experian and Equifax are their advertising affiliates.


1) If
I accept their settlement, will I need to take down my ebook that has already published?

2) Can I make a counter offer? If so, any links/posts that can guide on doing so?



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The key words in that offer are that it is a settlement only related to that lawsuit.  Should your bank commit a different tort and you decide to sue them that settlement won't prevent you from doing so.  What it does is prevent you from turning around 6 months later and filing another suit say in Federal Court over the same issue.  


It is no different than when a settlement is done on a debt and the creditor says when you pay us 25% we will consider the entire amount settled in full.  They can't come back later and demand the rest of the amount and if you were smart the settlement stated they can't sell the remainder and if they do future creditors, partners, assignees etc. are barred from pursuing the debt.

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The original post appears to quote a portion of the settlement terms. I read it to indicate the OP is releasing a bunch of different parties.


It seems that attorneys that draft business releases to deal with consumer disputes like to provide consumers overly broad releases that exclusively favor their client. This example half-way down the webpage is classic: Verizon Wireless GENERAL RELEASE AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE


When I release a laundry list of parties ideally I would want each party being released to sign off releasing me also.


As far as whether I could continue to sell a tell-all ebook, I would be looking for any terms on non-disclosure and/or confidentiality. Especially any terms that indicated that I had to cease and desist from all disparaging comments about the beloved Released Parties (or anything similar).


I always assume I am free to counter offer until I get what I want.


I don't know what is being provided for the OP in return for all the releasing that is going on. If what is being offered is acceptable and not signing the settlement would cause me serious grief I would be gentle on any counter-offers. If I don't give a rip if I settle now, litigate forever (possibly more fodder for my ebook/blog/etc), or settle later I would write in whatever reasonable thing that I wanted in my counter-offer.


For a credit card dust-off settlement I find the overly-broad Swinerton release attractive. It is discussed on the link in terms of being "poorly worded" because it barred a breach of contract lawsuit filed by Swinerton the day after the Superior Court judge signed a broad stipulation and order of dismissal prepared by Swinerton and Diddy’s attorneys.


Apparently attorneys can make significant errors when drafting settlement agreements so having a competent contract attorney review any agreement prior to signing may not be an bad idea for those without contract expertise.

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  • 2 weeks later...

UPDATE::: I sent in a counter offer, with a new release I drafted myself (thanks Credator!), and a demand for the actual amount in damages + $500. A quick email exchange and they declined and counter-offered, which was not a good counter offer.


I'm going to wait this out until court. Since the original posting, I sold more copies.  By the time the court date comes round, I'll have made a nice chunk of change. I plan to amend my book (second edition!!) with forms and flowcharts for anyone else suffering with YuckCo the way I have.


This forum, and others, have really reaffirmed my rights as a consumer and I hope other readers of my book will use similar tactics against YuckCo and bring them death by 1000 cuts. (OR YuckCo would offer up some decent customer service.... this will never happen.)


(YES, I will post a link, after court in August. It is a great read, that anyone involved with YuckCo will appreciate. I am also keenly aware that YuckCo's goons are in this forum, and I don't want to jeopardize the outcome.)

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