A release usually forms part and parcel of any settlement. Most of the time there is little or no dispute over the wording that goes into the release. However, a recent case is notable for giving a quick refresher (or crash course) in the law of releases.
To put it shortly, the case law is clear that where a settlement is reached, it is normally implied, absent some agreement to the contrary, that an executed final release will be given.
On the other hand, parties are not bound to execute a complex or unusual form of release. While the duty to give a release is implicit in the settlement itself, the terms of the release must reflect the agreement that was reached between the parties.
In the instant case, the defendant was seeking to have the plaintiff release it for "any and all disputes and claims between the parties that are presently known or reasonably discoverable and which arouse out of, or in any way relate to, the dealings between the parties that gave rise to the action and the appeal."
The court found that the parties had agreed to settle all of the remaining issues in the action. In this particular case, the only issue that was outstanding was negligent misrepresentation. The court held that it was never contemplated that the settlement was inclusive of any discoverability rights the plaintiff may have. The court ruled in favour of the wording proposed by the plaintiff and awarded costs against the defendant in the sum of $5,000.