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Plaintiff agrees to settlement, then stalls

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published Dec. 4, 2007, 4:38 p.m.)

A former Whitewater businessman agreed to settle his lawsuit against a now-retired Whitewater detective for $82,500, but he isn't letting his attorney mail the settlement documents, according to federal court records.

Stephen D. Cvicker, who filed a harassment suit against Larry P. Meyer in 2005, refuses to allow his attorney to send out settlement documents he signed, according to federal court records filed Nov. 15.

Cvicker agreed to settle the suit for $82,500, Meyer's attorney learned through Cvicker's attorney. But Cvicker, 55, won't let his attorney send the signed documents to Meyer's attorney, according to court records.

Cvicker accused Meyer of harassing him and Hispanic employees at his landscaping supply company, causing the company to lose employees and business.

The city's insurance company remains "willing and able to provide the settlement checks to (Cvicker) in exchange for the release and dismissal," according to a motion to enforce the settlement filed by Attorney Ryan Braithwaite, who is representing Meyer and the city.

Because Cvicker had his attorney draft a settlement document and send it to Meyer's attorney, such an agreement should be valid, sufficient for dismissal and enforced by the court, according to the motion.

In September, Meyer's attorneys offered $75,000 to settle and have Cvicker dismiss the suit.

Contact later was made with the Walworth County District Attorney's Office on Cvicker's behalf in an attempt to use the settlement offer to negotiate a reduction of a felony conviction Cvicker had on his record, according to court records.

District Attorney Phil Koss refused to reduce the charge, and attorneys for Cvicker and Meyer continued negotiations, according to the motion.

Cvicker accepted an increased settlement of $82,500. His attorney drafted a settlement letter and sent it to attorneys for Meyer.

After revisions, Cvicker signed a version of the agreement in October, but refused to let his attorney send it to Meyer's attorneys, according to court records.

After an Oct. 24 article in The Janesville Gazette indicating a settlement was likely, a state Department of Revenue agent contacted Braithwaite and said a lien of $38,268 would be put on the settlement for money that Cvicker owes the department, according to the motion.

Cvicker is refusing to sign a release because he wants to leverage a settlement into a reduction of criminal charges, according to Braithwaite's motion.

"It is also apparent that (Cvicker's) refusal to honor the settlement agreement results from his inability to avoid his obligations to the Department of Revenue," the motion reads. "Whatever the reason, (Cvicker) cannot avoid the agreement merely because he may now believe the settlement is insufficient."

Braithwaite declined to comment further than what he filed with the court.

The Week was not able to reach Cvicker's attorney, George Mistrioty, for comment.

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